What a beautiful night out.  Not because there are stars out, because I really don’t see any.

It looks pretty cloudy really.

I think I just forgot what a KY spring night could do to for a country girls anxious heart.  Little compares to looking out over the silhouette of farmland I grew up on.  Here, in a glance, as the cricket’s chorus falls into a harmony with the other peculiar night melodies, I can almost touch years and years of memories. Laughter, sweat, friendships, family…tears.  I miss my dad.  But what a sweet feeling to scan the landmark of my childhood  and remember what we shared, what he taught; all right here from my backyard.  As I breathe in the past, my heart is exuberant with praise.  What a God we serve.

My dad was a hero to just about every little boy his life graced.  I don’t think I knew that until he passed.  It was very humbling to realize such a thing.  There were people whose lives he touched that I would have never even guessed he had spoken to.  We joked that he was like Lassie…going around impacting lives while we thought he was just working on the farm.

But really, even then, it wasn’t just about driving a tractor, it was about loving farming.  I wasn’t taught to just rake hay.  I was taught to turn that 1520 around just right and double back to create a peak of rolled hay that would make him proud.  How satisfying for us both.  As sorry as I felt for myself for having to work instead of spending my summer vacation at the lake – I’m glad I had no choice.  I have wonderful memories of working with him (and getting fired a time or two ;-0) which no one can take away.

I love the land.  He taught me how. He wasn’t just my dad, he was my coach.  He inspired me to always be reaching for more.

When we were last in the hospital with Haddie Joy, I called him to give an update.  I went through the latest news.

He then asked how I was.  I paused.

“It’s hard.  It’s just so hard,” was my reply.

But he was right there, ever so gently cheering me on,

“Well, you might not want to hear this, but you know what I always say.”

My meager, “What?”

This cue would begin his coaching.  In his most tender way, known by very few, he repeated words I’ve heard since I was a toddler banging up my knees,

“Be tough.”

Where no one else could reach, he entered.

Tears flooded my eyes.

I nodded.  Oh daddy, that is exactly what I wanted to hear.

I felt I could fight a little longer.

The time is upon us again.  Tuesday morning, bright and early, we are to be at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for Haddie Joy’s second surgery.  It’s not a “big deal” surgery, or so they say 😉  From momma’s perspective, it’s ALL a big deal!!  It’s been a really long journey deciding if this is what is right for her.  But truly, I’m not sure there is a wrong decision.  She is God’s before she is ours (thanks Anette!), and there is not much I can do to mess His plans up – except maybe, not joining them and missing out on what He wants to teach me through it all.

She will have a G-tube/ Nissen.  The G-tube is a different feeding tube access and should be a bit easier to manage.  The Nissen fundoplication is a fancy little surgery done to help prevent the ill effects of GERD/ super bad reflux.  Other than one cold, and worsening reflux the last few weeks, Haddie Joy has been getting progressively better.  She has started therapy with wonderful ladies and has really enjoyed it. We have found a way for her to tolerate her feedings much better.  This has been the greatest success so far.  For her to be able to take a feeding without a sweating screaming fit afterwards makes life much more pleasant for everyone.  Not to mention, it was extremely difficult to see her in that much pain so often.  This is the main concern post-op.  How will she do with feedings after we’ve messed around with her tummy?  We pray that she will be as comfortable as possible.  The better she tolerates her feeds, the sooner we get to come home.  There is also a possibility that she will have something called retching syndrome.  Which means just what you think, she will retch and retch and not be able to get sick.  In almost every case it gets better with time, although it could take several months.

Honestly, we have absolutely no desire to take Haddie Joy back next week.  She has been such a joy.  We feel so blessed to have been able to enjoy her progressing health.  To put her through anything remotely uncomfortable again is something Peter and I are really struggling with.  Haddie Joy is a fighter, that is for sure.  She is so strong.  And she likes to show the nurses how much.  She WILL fight each and everyone she meets at the hospital, I will guarantee that.  She does not tolerate any of it without letting them know how she feels….really loudly and for long periods of time.   That’s my girl!  But it does make for an unpleasant hospital visit.

Specific prayer requests for this week:

1.) Pray for the surgery and anesthesia to be successful and for her recovery.

2.) The boys fly in for the summer Tuesday also.  Please pray for them as they basically are stepping into a very trying time.

3.) I will be flying solo on this stay while Peter has a mini vacation with older kids.  Pray that I won’t go nuts and that they will have a great time together.

4.)  Pray for Shaylea.  She has been through a lot.  She is such a blessing and has been so sacrificial and loving.  Pray she will continue to fight the good fight.

5.)  Praise God that He is able to handle all of this and for all of the amazing people who have stepped into our lives and ministered to us these past months.  God is SOOOO good!!  (Those of you who have chosen to remain anonymous – THANK YOU so much.  I want to know who you are so I can properly thank you, but if not, I hope somehow this will get to you!)

6.)  Praise God that our insurance has been amazing thus far!  We anticipated a much more devastating situation.  Although we understand we will continue to get medical bills, God has really provided in amazing ways!

We do have so much to be thankful for as we learn to navigate life with a special needs baby.  Life is and never will be the same.  There have been ups and downs.  We’ve been high and low.  Some of you have mentioned how strong I am and how if  you were me you would have lost your mind.  FYI – I did, a couple of times actually 😉  Thankfully I’ve had great people around me who love me anyways and remind me God does too.  But, I’d be lying if I told you I had this all figured out.  And though there are more and more moments and days that I truly am learning to enjoy the trials we continue to face – it’s hard. It is just so hard.

And it looks pretty cloudy really.

But you know, I had a coach once who inspired me to always be reaching for more.

And so, I do.  I reach towards heaven, eagerly awaiting the day when we praise our Savior together.  Until then, I think I’ll fight a little longer.

When I fall down under the weight of anxiety and stress or get bogged down carrying the burdens of self loathing and deceit, I’ll reach towards my Savior and trust that my coach here on this earth was right.

And as I reach  for His hand I’ll remember, there truly is more to behold.

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12 Responses to Coach

  1. Gail McKinney says:

    Praying for you and Haddie this week…..

  2. Gayle Rives says:

    Dearest Brooke,
    Thank you so much for, once again, sharing your heart and your journey….and especially, about your Coach. I helped pass meds, help a little w/the kids and mostly…observe the 2 way love at His Image Camp last weekend. What a blessing! But, we workers had that experience only because the parents/caretakers of those children loved them/gave of themselves before us. God’s ways are CERTAINLY not ours!
    Love you much,

  3. Gayle Rives says:

    Oh, and know…..I’m praying/thinking ’boutchall…..everyday.

  4. Rita Driver says:

    Just shared your story with Hannah and not a dry eye! You guys are such special people. I carry Haddie in my heart everyday. I still have the beautiful card you sent when she was born on my refrigerator. Your thoughts of your Dad ring so true to me. Dad’s are special people, non-replaceable!
    Praying for you all,
    Love Rita

  5. Angel says:

    I love you and I thank God for allowing me to have such a rich blessing to know you and call you friend. I praise Him for allowing me the opportunities to experience even more blessings through serving however I am needed. What wonderous things He does in me through you. Thank you Father!

  6. Nancy says:

    Love you & praying for you all.

    I deleted my FB so just email or call me. 🙂 Love on sweet HJ for me.

  7. Brandy Wright Bailey says:

    Your dad was a very special person to so many, I remember when Nicie and I were rodeoing with Josh and your dad would get up early when Josh wasn’t even riding to come watch us. He was an amazing man and I know you all miss him dearly. Your daughter is just beautiful and your courage and faith is what will get you through this. Whether you believe it or not, you are a strong person because of both of your Fathers in Heaven. Today will be tough but just rely on their strengths and you will get through this too.

    • Thank you Brandy! You are so right, he was a special person. I smile remembering how much fun he had watching you goat tie – next to the bullriding, I think it was his favorite part of the rodeo! Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  8. Breck says:

    I hope the surgery today went well. You and your family remain in my thoughts and prayers.

    • We are still hanging in there wih the recovery. We were hoping for a bit better results. Time will tell. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. We sincerely appreciate them!

  9. Pingback: Haddie’s Surgery Update | Journey Through Joy

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