Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Fellowship Baptist

This past week was spent in Charlotte, NC at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. It was a great time of fellowship, worship and relaxation. I already can't wait until next year! The picture above is right before we left the house. The picture below is the weather that we had to deal with pretty much the whole way .
I was so excited when we hit West Virginia. I had never been before so we decided to stop to eat there at a little pizza place.
I didn't see too much of West Virginia but the part I saw was ugly and depressing.
There was a break in the rain and a beautiful rainbow appeared.
When we finally did get into Charolotte it was late, late on Monday night. We had had a very long day in the car and even though I was exhausted I immdeiatly went to the 24 hour fitness center in the hotel for a little run. I begged roger to go with me and he actually DID!!!

The next morning Roger suggested that we visit the Billy Graham library. My response "are you serious...I don't want to go look at all his books. I don't even know much about the man." his response "jess, they just call it a library but it is really a museum." So, with a bit of apprehension I went. When we were greeted at the gate by a man in a nice suit that seemed to have the crazy Evangelical smile I wanted to turn around and leave. I have a bad history of people trying to "Get [me] saved from the HELL FIRE."

Then when he said "proceed forward and go through the foot of the cross." I just about took off back to the hotel. But I proceeded. Roger was really excited.

It ended up NOT being about Billy Graham at all. It was about the power of God. How God take ordinary people and uses them to do extraordinary things.Billy never wanted to be a preacher. He tried to avoid the call. but in the end the call was too strong.

There was a small room dedicated to his wife Ruth that brought tears to my eyes. I actually had to hide that I was crying. I was so moved because she had the same philosophy of life and her call to ministry that I have. She understood her call to be a minister to her family and husband. Billy called her his chief spiritual adviser and her children said she was crazy hilarious and full of love. I think she would dub herself what I have dubbed myself...a domestic missionary. It was very moving and encouraging. I truly felt that God was speaking to me and wrapping his arms around me to say "it's going to be ok. It'll be rough but it will be ok."

There was a room set up like an old studio talking about how he reached millions through media. I had to take this picture for my Uncle Greg. I thought he would get a kick out of it.
So, the whole library thing was free!! I would take a bus load of people back there is a heart beat. It was that powerful for me. When it was over we did the corny thing and got the billy graham bbq sandwich and billy graham tea. HE HE HA HA
Then we visited his wife's grave. The landscape was so that she was buried at the foot of the cross. Check out what is on her head stone. She was a funny, carefree person and thought it would be funny to have that on her head stone after driving through a construction zone and reading a sign that said "End of Construction...Thank you for your patience."
She has now become my role model. I think we all need to have many people, dead and alive, that we look to for inspiration and she has now become one of them. Later in the week a friend of mine, Karen, got me a book of Ruth's journals, pictures and poetry. I stayed up the night she gave it to me reading in the bathroom floor of the hotel until 4am laughing, crying and reflecting.
This is the house that Billy grew up in. We got to go inside and the color was CRAZY. His mother loved a certain green color and painted the whole house that color. It was a little too much if you ask me. you can look it up on youtube and see a video of inside.
We went to walk in an area of Charlotte and just so happened to park at the church billy graham grew up in. Roger walked in to ask if we could park there and a bunch of kids yelled "STRANGER STRANGER STRANGER" Then once the teacher came and gave us promission to park in the lot, the kids yelled "are you from kentucky? man, you gots some goooooood chicken."
The best thing about going to the CBF is getting to hang out with old friends. No one knows what it is like to me a minister or a minister's spouse like a minister and a minister's spouse. WE spent an evening hanging out in the hoppin' area of downtown Charlotte, NC, complaining to one another and being inspired by one another.
Every evening we would CRASH. The constant go go go is fun but really makes you tired.
The next morning Roger got me breakfast and a newspaper in bed!! It was a yummy waffle with blue berries. He is so sweet!
in the mornings I skipped the business stuff and sat alone reading in the room. It was so peaceful and refreshing.
On Thursday evening we went to dinner with Karen and Barry to a very very very nice Asian restaurant. I just had to take a picture of the toilet because I had never sat on a black one before. It just looked so pretty.
Karen and Barry are members of the church that Roger is now the senior minister of and the parent's of a good friend, Tyler, from college. They are sweet people and I am so excited to get to know them in the months and years to come.
During the thursday evening service at the General Assembly of the CBF we had communion by intinction (you break a peace of bread off and dip it in the cup before taking it into your body). It is always such a humble and holy act to take communion with fellowship baptist from around the world. It was a very sacred and joyful moment for me.
On friday evening Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God, was the key note speaker. She later had a book signing and I'm telling ya I rushed to be the first person in line. I love meeting authors. I love her so much because she doesn't fit herself into the box. She is just who God made her and God made her to be SPUNKY and out spoken!!
saturday we explored the historic Charlotte, Nc. This porch......I FELL IN LOVE WITH. Can someone please buy it for me?!?!?!
When you were in the neighborhood you could sit on your front porch and view the city.
On the way back we took the scenic route. It took forever, because I had to stop every five seconds to look at something COOL, like this sign, but it was beautiful!!!

We came across this hiking town called Hot Springs. We plan on going back with friends.
Sense we had already stopped we decided to have dinner in a little old cafe' there in hot springs

We ended up in this town called Cocke County. The home of the fighting Cocks. oh my. You can imagine how hard we laughed the rest of the way home.
We got home at 11pm completely exhausted and totally not ready for Roger's last Sunday at the church he is currently serving. Our plan was to go visit my family after the sunday service, swim in their pool and go see toy story 3 but some people were upset that the kids wouldn't be there for the last sunday. So, instead we had my parents bring the kids up on sunday morning and then after church we did KFC and toy story 3. Now the kids and the parents are spacing out at home....or at least trying. Anna doesn't know what REST means.

I am exhausted but excited. I had a great week hanging with The Fellowship, getting back in touch with my Husband and spending some quality alone time with myself. I left the house feeling overwhelmed and I have come back feeling refreshed and inspired.

Monday, June 21, 2010

cardiologist followup

Roger and I got up early this morning to head into the city...about a 2hour drive during rush hour. We were on our way to the followup appointment with my cardiologist about my brand spanking new pacemaker. The sun was shinning, the air was warm but not too humid, the car was cleaned, the oil changed, the tires pumped and the most exciting thing of all, I had gotten to fix my hair for the first time since the surgery. It looked like a great day was ahead of us.

Then I was called back to see the Doctor. Like usual I was hooked up to the EKG machine and the small little pacemaker computer thingy. Everything seemed normal, then the pacemaker tech from medtronic started to seem a little tense. I was then informed that they couldn't find MY resting heart rate. That it looked as if I was being paced ALL THE TIME. Where was MY heart rate??

She kept dropping the pacemaker down to 30bpm, which made me feel horrid and kinda freaked me out, but my heart never kicked in. The main thought that was running through my mind was "well crap. I knew this day would come. I didn't think it would be this soon but I knew the day would come that my heart would just tucker out. well crap. I guess I am going to be put on the transplant list? I have no clue what this all means. well crap. After this appointment I am going to HAVE TO get a will made. Well crap. Well, at least Roger's got people to help him with the kids. oh the kids. well crap" I get pretty dramatic in my head.

The doctor was called in, another pace tech was called in and I am happy to announce they FOUND that my heart still had its own precious beat!!! YAY. I'm not really quite sure what happened or what went on or why it took so long to find my resting rate. They kept talking to one another in fast doctor/tech language. I looked to Roger to see if he knew what was going on and he just shook his head. They mentioned something about the bottom lead but they kinda lost me with all the other stuff. I just trust they know what they're doing and I'll be ok.

Anyway, a bit of a scare, made me realize that I really do need to have a will and that each day is a blessing. I guess I just needed a little bit of a reminder. Now it is up stairs to pack for our trip to Charlotte. We hope to be there by the time my favorite show, The Bachlorette, comes on. Oh man oh man, what a day it has already been. I'm ready to snuggle in a nice warm bed and read my Mary Poppins book. I choose Mary Poppins because I needed a little escape from the real world. I'm excited to read this book to Paul and Anna when they get a little older. Paul was so excited when I told him that I was reading the mary poppins book!!! I love reading to both of them and I am so happy that they enjoy that mommy time as much as I do!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

vacation in Charlotte, NC

I am happy to announce that my shoulder is finally starting to feel a bit normal. I still have to lie on my back when I sleep, I can't pick up anything remotely heavy and I can't lift my arm any higher than shoulder level. I can't fix my hair. But I am no longer waking up in horrid pain. I am no longer taking drugs nonstop and staring into space. I am no longer thinking that this healing process is going to take FOREVER.

I go in for my follow up appointment on monday. While I am there I am going to ask about the pacer range. Right now they have me set at 61 bpm to 100bpm. The problem with that is that I enjoy cardio exercise and the heart rate only going up to 100 is a big problem. It needs to reach higher. I just pray that they will allow me to go back to my normal. But I do like my heart rate being lower 60's instead of mid 70's. I don't feel as tense. Before they had me set at 73 to about 140. But the resting rate being so high, I think, caused me to be tense a lot. I have enjoyed my resting rate so low the past couple of days but the high rate I would like a bit higher so that I can go for runs. I can only really go for small fast pace walks at 100. I would like to have a bigger range. I wonder if that is possible.

Anyway, after the followup appointment Roger and I are headed to Charlotte, NC for a mini vacation with out the children. He made sure to get me a place downtown with a pool and a fitness center. I wont be able to really swim for 4weeks but I can wade around and I will be able to work out in the fitness room. I'm looking forward to exploring Charlotte again with Roger. That is one of the places we went on our honeymoon and I loved it!! so beautiful!! I'm also looking forward to some pool side reading, late night walks, and book store and coffee shop hopping.

When ever we go on mini vacation's alone we always have a theme song. This year the theme song is from an artist named Bed Kweller. Layla just recently introduced us to him and this one song really speaks to what we plan for this little get away!!! So, take a listen and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pacemaker Surgery 6-15-10

Have you ever been to Kosair Children's Hospital? As soon as I walked in the doors I was at ease. It was like walking into a carnival. Bright colors, toys, puppets, clowns and McDonalds! It was WONDERFUL! The people were even cheery! All the doctors and nurses walked around in this utopia. I stepped into a loving childlike world and did not want to leave.
I found this small little cabin by the parking lot to enjoy some reading while I waited to meet the surgeon. Speaking of the surgeon, he was WONDERFUL. A GREAT personality! Was willing to answer any of my questions no matter how stupid they seemed. "hey, ummm what are you going to do with that old pacemaker when you take it out because umm...?" doctor -"DO YOU WANT IT!!!!" me- "OH YEAH!!"
When you first walk into the building this is what you see in the lobby and by the front doors. There is also a McDonalds in there. How AWESOME!!! I totally got me a burger and fries!
When I went in to register the woman said "so, you're mom" I said "nope. self" she laughed a bit and said "no I mean you're Jessica's mother." I smiled and said "no I'm Jessica!! Hey there! how are ya!?!?" They made roger wear a name tag that said "parent of Jessica J" The nurse felt bad and marked the "parent of" part out but I thought it was hilarious!
In pre-op I was at first given a room with this small little baby crib in it and this small little gown and blood pressure cuff. When I went to the bathroom I had to bend down to wash my hands in the tiny little sink. I felt like a giant.
While we were waiting for the nurses to call us back we were given this small piece of pizza. It flashed when they were ready to see you. Paul would have LOVED this!
The surgery was suppose to start at 7:30 but the doctors were in a meeting. I just chilled out getting even more nervous as I listened to the little screams of children being taken away from their parents and in to surgery. They came back and gave me some "chill out" meds and I don't remember anything from there.
I woke up in post-op surrounded by the cutest little babies in the whole world. The poor little things were so scared and started to scream REALLY REALLY loud. I once again felt like a giant, like in the Elf movie, but I enjoyed being surrounded by little kids and talking to them. Also, as soon as I woke up I declared my love to the sleepy doctor. He seemed embarrassed but I'm telling ya I didn't feel sick at all and had such a wonderful experience. I felt charged!!! "I am a child at heart" Literally.

Then I got to see my old pacemaker!! Pretty awesome you all. That thing has been in me through prom, high school graduation, my wedding, college graduation and the birth of my children.
At Kosair when you get out of surgery you are offered a slushi! I choose blue. They also offer wagon rides but they said I wouldn't fit in the wagon.
You also get a toy after you wake up. I told them I had two children and they gave me two little ducks that look like doctors! How sweet! I gave them to Paul and Anna.
Is my tongue blue yet?!?! Roger got a red slushi and his tongue was VERY red.
I am so so so so HAPPY that this is behind me. I hurt like the dickens right now but not nearly as bad as I thought I would. I already feel like I could run a race. They said I wont need another one for 12 years!!!!! I want to cry I am so excited!
When I got home I showed the kids the scar and explained that I was ok. Paul thought that it was AWESOME. He is going to be my little cardiologist. He wants to take care of mommy's heart when he gets big. Who knows. Maybe he will!!
Then I got to show them my old pacemaker. Paul is so excited about taking it to show-n-tell some day. It is so AWESOME to be able to share this with them and see their little curious faces. I feel so blessed that I am able to even have those two. It is a true miracle!
So, there it is!! We are done. All the tension that we have been experiencing is coming to an end. This morning while I waited for the doctor I did my morning devotional. It was about fear this morning. How perfect! God has been right beside me this whole time and I feel incredibly blessed. I'm alive, my heart is beating, I have two beautiful HEALTHY children, a husband that is the most loving person I have ever met and friends and family that pray for me and support me.

Thank you ALL!!!!