The Story

This blog post is going to be long.  I want to update everyone on what has been happening with Kinsley the last few days and list a few ways you can pray.  But before I go there, I want to share some of the fun we have been having.  A lot has happened in such a little time.

Last weekend, we took the girls hiking in Lory State Park on a trail that Ed and I conquered almost 6 years ago.  We didn’t make it to the top this time, but we did enjoy beautiful views of Fort Collins and the girls got to get their feet wet with hiking (well, both of them were being carried, so technically they didn’t walk at all!).  Man, hiking is so much more difficult with children AND gear attached!

Last week, Kinsley went to Vacation Bible School at a local church.  Some good friends of ours were taking their daughter and told us about it.  She loved it!  It was a rodeo/cowgirl theme and she loved singing songs about Jesus and saying “yeehaw”.  She thought she was such a big girl being dropped off and picked up at school and she loved that she could take her backpack and go to school like daddy.  At the end of the week, they had a VBS program.  We didn’t know how she would do and it is worth going because every day when I went to pick her up, she wasn’t participating and was just standing there or being held.  We decided to go anyways and she hammed it up for the cameras.  Here is a video (click the link below) of her dancing (more like running).  She was the kid that everyone said was so cute and that they were entertained by the whole time – there is always one and why not her with her big personality.


Here a few other random pics:

Kinsley’s version of “hide and seek”.  So easy to find but so cute!

The girls riding around at the store.  Emerson loves being able to look around and Kinsley loves sitting beside her sis.

Emerson is 8 months old!  She is so stinking cute!  She loves standing holding onto things, crawling around, loves going after her sister’s (or anyone else’s) food, loves playing hide and seek, loves eating, loves swimming and being in the water, and is way more of a risk-taker than Kinsley.

But now this brings us to the story of what has happened in our lives the last few days.  This story is still hard to tell and brings me to tears thinking/talking about it.  This past Tuesday, I, along with a few others, threw an ice cream social for those who are joining staff in our region this summer.  Ed was watching the girls.  When I finished, I was going to go to another staff couple’s apartment to get their blender to use.  Being that their apartment was around the corner from ours, I decided to let Ed and the girls ride with us (the girls love riding in the car without car seats and Kinsley loves “driving”).  When we got there, Ed sat in the car with Emerson and I went to the apartment with Kinsley in my arms.  I tripped over some uneven concrete and tried so hard to recover or to brace us, but we both ended up falling and hitting the concrete, me on my stomach and Kinsley on her back.

I jumped up, went over to Kinsley to make sure she was okay, and started to pull her up.  It was then that i realized that she couldn’t stand, wasn’t crying or talking, and couldn’t move one whole side of her body.  Her neck was turned and she couldn’t turn it back and it almost looked like one whole side of her body had had a stroke, with her mouth drooping and that side paralyzed.  I immediately scooped her up, ran to the car, and began frantically telling Ed what happened.  Ed is normally the really calm one.  He was frantic when he saw her and started yelling “Call 911.  Call 911.”

We decided not to call 911 but got in the car and went back to our apartment to take a look at her and decide next steps.  By the time we got back to the apartment and inside, she was starting to regain movement and her mouth wasn’t drooping near as much.  We almost immediately realized she had a concussion – she was very lethargic, sleepy, her eyes were bloodshot, her pupils were very slow to dilate, the back of her head (which was bleeding a little) was not swollen or knotted.  We decided that Ed would stay and put Emerson to bed but that I would take Kinsley to the ER for them to assess her.  We knew she had a concussion, but we didn’t know what more had happened with the paralyzation/stroke incident.

We raced to the Er and Kinsley started vomiting before we ever made it inside (yet another sign of a concussion).  Even though they were busy, they took us back pretty quickly (praise the Lord!) and decided pretty quickly to do a cat scan.  Kinsley was amazing during the whole thing – cooperating, sleeping in between, staying still for the cat scan, and not complaining one bit.  As we were going through all this, some sweet and dear friends of ours were arranging childcare for Emerson and a ride for Ed to get to the hospital (so thankful for Cru family!).  After what felt like forever, we got the results of the CT scan: normal!  The doctor assured us that while that was good, we weren’t out of the woods yet and needed to watch her very closely to make sure she returned to her normal self.  The doctor said “If she isn’t herself in a few days, you need to bring her back in no matter what the cat scan showed.”  You can bet this momma slept right beside her all night.

She woke up at 6 the next morning feeling an urge to vommit, which she did.  We were concerned after she vomitted the second time and were instructed by our doctors in NC to bring her in if it happened again.  Praise the Lord, it didn’t happen again and she even kept down food and drink that day.  While we are optimistic, we are aware that we are not out of the woods yet.  She is still complaining of her head hurting, and while I know that is normal with a concussion and that bad of a blow, it should be getting better (its hard to get a 3 year old to tell you if its hurting more or less than the day before).  While is acting more normal, she is definitely not 100%, so we are watching her very closely and making sure nothing is amiss.  So please pray that the Lord heals her completely and quickly and that we don’t have to make a return visit.  You could also pray the Lord blocks out the images and memories we have from when it happened.  I have been really struggling with replaying over and over again what she looked like in those moments when she couldn’t move or respond.  It brings me to tears every time and breaks my heart.

In the midst of all of this, the Lord has been so good to us.  One, he provided people who could serve us by watching Emerson and giving Ed a ride.  Second, he allowed me not to feel any guilt about what happened (which was a miracle because I could have beat myself up!).  Third, even though I was super, super scared and stressed, I felt the Lord reassuring me on the way to the hospital with truths from His Word:  God is good, He is in control, and He cares for her way more than I do.  I felt like the Lord was reassuring me that she is His child, and that if something were to happen to her, we were blessed that He allowed us to look after her for a short period of time.  None of that made it easier or dried the tears, but it did give me a deep peace.  Praise the Lord that wasn’t the outcome!!  Fourth, praise the Lord the CT scan was normal!  If you could have seen her when it happened, there would be no doubt in your mind that its a miracle that there was no internal bleeding!

Thank you for your prayers and support – and for believing the Lord can heal her completely.


Life in Colorado

We have survived our first week in Colorado!  Enjoy the view from our little two-bedroom apartment (don’t mind the toys on the floor – yes I could have picked them up but I have limited time to write this as is and just five minutes of picking up toys could make a difference in me getting this written vs. not getting this written).  We can see the mountains out our front window which has been nice, the pool and cardio room are just on the other side of our building, and the King Soopers as well as the campus are about a block away (yes, the King Soopers being close is a GREAT thing!).

The day after we arrived, Ed dove straight into classes and it has been pretty intense.  He takes two weeks of Biblical Interpretation in the morning and Old Testament in the afternoon and then two weeks of Biblical Communication in the morning and God, Bible, Holy Spirit in the afternoon.  They bring in professors who teach at seminaries during the year so it is very much a real class with tests, papers, projects, etc.

The girls and I have spent lots of time shopping at Goodwill, thrift stores, and yard sales for furnishings for our apartments, going to the library, playing in the pool, going to the park, and just enjoying our time together.  I have also been support coaching three girls who are going to be interning for their second year at Univ. of Tennessee as well as continuing in my New Staff Coordinator role (I coordinate reviewers as well as complete reviews for students who are applying to be new staff in our region), so that has been a good time for me to stay involved in ministry while Ed is taking classes.  This week, Kinsley has been attending vacation bible school at a local church and has been loving it!  She is so excited about going to school like her daddy and about mommy dropping her off, leaving, and then picking her up.  My baby girl is growing up too fast!!  Fort Collins is also very much a biking town, so Kinsley has LOVED biking around town with her daddy to and from places.

This past weekend, we ventured up to Rocky Mountain National Park to see the “big” mountains and to do a small hike with the girls at Bear Lake.  The trip definitely didn’t go as we had imagined.  Emerson fell asleep while we were driving up to the one of the top spots in the park (oh so gorgeous…seriously, could God make anything more beautiful?) and then woke up as we were getting out to touch the snow (Kinsley absolutely HAD to do this) and use the bathroom.  Kinsley didn’t know what to think about using the bathroom in a hole in the ground because the pipes were still frozen.

We left to travel back down to Bear Lake and Emerson, who had decided she wasn’t having it in the car anymore, screamed almost the entire way.  Then, we get to Bear Lake and not only are all the parking lots full (which meant we had to drive to a far lot and take a shuttle bus), but we were nearing lunch time, nap time, and storm clouds were beginning to role in.  Thank the Lord, we decided to head back to Estes Park and eat lunch there and were really thankful we did when it started raining.  Imagine being stuck on trail hiking with two small, hungry, tired, and grumpy little girls….not fun :(.  So we are 0-1 for tries at hiking so far.  Heres to next time.

We are hoping to try again this weekend so heres to attempt #2!


We Made It!

Praise the Lord we made it safely to Colorado.  Was our trip eventful? Yes.  Was it long? Yes.  Was it full of memories?  YES!

We traveled from Raleigh to Greenville, SC and stayed with Ed’s parents for about 5 days.  We met with current ministry partners, potential ministry partners, and spoke at a church.  Here is our car as we started out on this cross-country journey.  Packed to the brim.

Then, we traveled to Lexington, KY – our old stomping grounds.  We stayed with the Duffields (who are our old directors from when we worked on campuses in KY) and not only was it great to see them and catch up, but Kinsley and Sawyer (their son) both had a great time (minus the normal refereeing we had to do with a 2.5 year old and a 3 year old).  Here they are enjoying the cows.

We also got to visit with ministry partners/friends and enjoyed Lexington’s beautiful scenery.  To say that traveling around on a Saturday morning enjoying the green hills, horse farms, and sunshine nourished my soul would be an understatement.  This below is just one of many reasons why I miss Lexington…so beautiful!

Then, after staying in Lexington for two nights, we traveled to St. Louis.  This is where the trip got interesting.  We had decided that we travel early in the morning and after the kids woke up from their naps in the car (nothing more beautiful than watching your child sleep..especially when its in the car and the car is quiet 🙂 ), we would go to the St. Louis Zoo (which is free but not really free when you add in parking, tours, train rides, etc., etc.).

We knew that there was a 50% chance of rain – but 50% means it could go either way.  When we stopped for gas in O’Fallon, IL (20 min or so from St. Louis), it was raining pouring!  We decided to go ahead to the zoo and assess what the weather was like up the road.  When we arrived, it was just overcast and the nasty cloud from O’Fallon was no longer over us.  So, we paid for parking and were unburying the stroller when it started drizzling.  At this point, we had already payed for parking so we decided to go for it.  It rained on and off the whole time, and while that wasn’t really fun and even some of the animals were no-shows because they didn’t want to be in the rain, it kept away the crowds.

So, after a rainy, yet fun trip to the zoo, we traveled the 20 min to our hotel.  When we arrived at the exit, we looked over to our hotel and there were no cars parked anywhere near it.  When we pulled up, we noticed trash dumpsters all throughout the parking lot and the inside of the lobby was torn up.  The hotel next door was the same way and we were at a loss for what was going on.  We had made a reservation through the hotel’s main website and hadn’t heard anything else, so we weren’t sure why in the world the hotel wouldn’t be up and running.  We stopped at the La Quinta Inn next door and learned that a big storm had traveled through within the last week and tore off the roof of a few of the hotels.  Those hotels were condemned until they  could get everything fixed.  So, with no notice from the hotel chain and no vacancies at the La Quinta, we were on the hunt for another hotel.  We found one an exit up and after getting dinner at 7 at night, our kids were happy to go to sleep!

The next day, we traveled to Salina, KS where we enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool, getting a good meal, and goofing off in the hotel.

Our last day, we traveled to Erie, CO and stayed with our good friends Joscelyn and J (Joscelyn was in my wedding and we have remained good friends ever since). They have a little boy, Wes, that we had never met and a house they bought that we had never seen.  After staying with them, we traveled an hour (felt like 20 min after all our traveling) to Fort Collins and moved into our apartment.  We are feeling more settled every day and are so thankful to be here.

All in all, the girls did AMAZING.  Seriously way better than we ever anticipated.  I had planned activities and prizes for Kinsley to get every 3 hours or so, and that helped to keep her attention and give her new things to do.  We also let them run around at rest areas during lunch, never did more than 3.5 hours at a time, and then had things planned for the evenings to get energy out.  Honestly, Emerson was harder than Kinsley to keep occupied, since her attention span is so short and she is so active.

Another new development that happened in Greenville – Emerson is pulling up on things to stand.  Yesterday, she even held on to me and other things with just one hand as she balanced herself.  She is definitely growing up too fast!!

Thanks for the prayers – we felt every single one of them and are so grateful for the opportunity to bond more as a family!

Africa Update

Ed returned from Africa last Monday (a week from yesterday) so I wanted him to share about his trip to Senegal.  Enjoy his guest post and encourage him since he never writes like this (no, I didn’t have to even twist his arm to get him to do it).

I got to go to Dakar, Senegal which is on the western coast of Africa and the capital of Senegal.  It was a great time to learn a new culture, meet new people, and to share the gospel at the university there.

It was very easy to start conversations because if there was a student that spoke any amount of English, they wanted to sit down, practice it with us, and learn about America.  We had many great conversations with students and in most of those, we were able to share about our relationship with Christ and how they also could begin this relationship.

However, there is one story that will always stay with me.  It is of a guy named Zoo.  It was fun to see how the Lord was working in his life as he was being challenged with the gospel over the last year.  Zoo shared about how last summer, he had gotten to know one of the students that was on the summer project team and he had told that student that he was Muslim and was not open to the gospel.  However, that student continued to meet with him that summer.  Then, after the student left, Zoo continued meeting with an American guy who is on the the team that has been there all of this year. When I meet him the first week we got there, one of the first things he said was that he was in search of what is true (what a big difference from what he said when he met the student last summer!).  We had multiple long conversations about the gospel and even spent sometime looking in the Bible at the book of John.  Zoo is very close to accepting Christ and knows the truth but he is really thinking about it because him accepting Christ will probably mean his family and friends that are Muslim will be turning there backs on him.  It was a great time there getting to be in a culture that is 95% muslim but also see how the Lord is still moving and gripping students lives there with the Gospel.

Top 10 things I enjoyed about Senegal:

10.  Learning how to speak French and Wolof (by learning, I mean very, very small amounts)

9.  Getting to wear Senegalese clothes (including a boo-boo (spelling??) which is worn by many males on their holy day (Friday))

8.  Trying to order food and bargain for a taxi in another language

7.  Being on the Beach (Dakar is right on the coast)

6.  Playing soccer

5.  Trying to cross the street without getting hit (pedestrians do not have the right of way)

4.  Seeing students take big steps of faith (this is a picture of the students getting ready to leave at the airport)

3.  Getting to ride hanging off the back of small bus that transports people

2.  Trying new food – their food is awesome!!

1.  Getting to share the Gospel with many people!

Thanks for your prayers and support while I was gone!  It was a great trip and I can’t wait to go back and/or to hear about how the Lord is moving there and throughout the country and surrounding countries!