Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas Traditions and Lottie Moon

It seems no matter how hard I try to keep things simple at Christmas we always seem to be running from one event to another. Again life has gotten in the way of just sitting with my kids and talking about Christmas and in the way of posting. Well, today is a new day and a new week so I will try to maximize the opportunities that I am given.

In the events that led up to Christmas there are certain ones that I just love and that I have become a tradition. The first is The Sanctuary Milton ladies cookie and ornament exchange. This is an evening for the ladies to get together for a couple of hours and share in food, laughter and fun! This year my sweet friend Bev had everyone share a favorite memory, a story about Christmas or a way that they keep Christ in Christmas. This year many of the stories made me laugh, some of them made me cry but one in particular touched my heart.

One of the ladies, Leah said that Christmas is her favourite day of the year. She is from a different country and Christmas is the one day out of the year that she knows that her parents who are not Christians are in church back in their home country. She looks at Christmas as a new opportunity for her parents to come to know Jesus and as she prays that one day or one Christmas that will happen. This Christmas I too will be praying that somewhere halfway across the world two people that are dear to my friend will open their hearts to Jesus.

One of the traditions that we began a few years ago was to give an offering for our church's Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Who is Lottie Moon you ask? Charlotte “Lottie” Diggs Moon was born Dec. 12, 1840, in Albemarle County, Va. She rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized. In 1861, she was one of the first women in the South to receive a master’s degree. Edmonia Moon, Lottie’s sister, was appointed to Tengchow, China, in 1872. The following year, Lottie was appointed and joined her sister there.

Lottie served 39 years as a missionary, mostly in China’s Shantung province. She taught in a girls’ school and often made trips into China’s interior to share the good news with women and girls. Lottie frequently wrote letters to the United States, detailing Chinese culture, missionary life and the great physical and spiritual needs of the Chinese people. Additionally, she challenged Southern Baptists to go to China or give so that others could go.

Lottie Moon died at the age of 72. Her commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus with those who have not had an opportunity to hear it continues through the Lottie Moon offering. Every penny given to Lottie Moon is used to support Southern Baptist missionaries as they share the Gospel overseas. This allows our church and individuals to join in a strategic global effort to reach the whole world. It also enables missionaries to spend their time working to reach lost souls instead of raising their own support.

This year our family will be making an extra gift in honour of all those who prayed for us and supported us during Liam's recent surgeries and hospital stay. We could not think of a more appropriate way to honour you than to support the work of sharing the gospel across the globe. Our prayer is that others will come to know Jesus.

If you would like to more about the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and ways that you can give please click on the link.
Pray for us. Liam has been chosen by McMaster children's hospital to be the poster child for this year's telethon. The photo shoot is this Wednesday with a couple of TV news anchors. The Public Relations division of the hospital will also be doing a five minute television documentary on Liam and on our family and we will be on a live television show in May 2009. We will let you know exact dates when they give them to us. Pray for opportunities for us to share what Jesus has done in our lives.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jesus in a Barn

So the first step in being intentional about keeping Christ in all we do for Christmas is looking at some of what we do now. There are many things that we do with our immediate and extended family and of course our church family but today I will just talk about one of the simple traditions that we have. Besides the fact that I have been known to listen to Christmas music in July, I love to decorate the house with the kids and Jason. It has become a tradition that everyone looks forward to every year. When Liam first came out of the hospital we asked him what was one of the things he wanted to do first and he said "Get the house ready for Christmas." So that first weekend he was home we started. We made some hot chocolate, turned on the Christmas CD's, sang along to the music and put on our Santa hat's....well the kids and I did, Jason is a little more reserved!


This year Caroline wanted to decorate our Nativity scene. I usually do this and tell the kids the Christmas story as I set it out. Caroline took great pride in telling the other kids who each of the figures were and then placed them exactly where she wanted them in the scene. Trinity was in awe. After Caroline had finished placing all the characters we took some Christmas lights and placed them on the roof of the creche. "It is beautiful!" breathed this little voice that came from our youngest. She could not take her eyes of the picture.


I am not sure if it was the way that her older sister took the time to tell her about the manger scene or if Trinity is just at the age where is enamoured by all babies but she seems to have taken a liking to our little Nativity set. Yesterday, we were in a store and one of the clerks asked her what was on her list for Santa. TJ said "I asked him for a Dora for my dollhouse and I thanked him for being so nice." When the clerk asked her if that was all she wanted she said, "No, I also want my own Jesus in a barn." Every time I think of it I smile and giggle a little. Maybe this year she should have a nativity set that she can play with and set up herself.

As I struggle to be more intentional about our Christmas traditions I realize that each of you probably have a tradition or two and if you share, it would enrich us all! I would love to hear about what you do to focus yourself or your family on Christ for Christmas season. Please post a comment. I would really love to hear about what you do.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

No More Stitches

He was walking so quickly beside me I had to tell him to slow down. He was excited. He wanted to show Dr. Singh how well he was doing. As we walked by the gift shop he said, " I remember that place." "They have a Christmas tree, now!" We took the stairs up to the second floor and he reminded me "We used to take these all the time before I had my surgeries. Now I can do it again." As we entered the 3F clinic the receptionist smiled. "Dr. Singh was just asking if you were here." We walked into the exam room and Liam exclaimed, "Hey, this is the first room we were ever in when we meet Dr. Singh."
So many memories came flooding back this time as we visited McMaster Children's hospital. It was neat to see that he was remembering too. It has been quite a journey. One that we will not forget and I hope that we will talk about again and again.



Our appointment with Dr. Singh was great. She removed Liam's stitches. There was 42 of them so it took a bit of time but he said it did not hurt. He asked her if he could sign up for basketball again in January. She said he could play but he has to avoid hitting his head as the bone will not fully fuse for at least three months. I want him to wear a helmet but it was decided that just the skills would be fine and to avoid the scrimmages where he could get get hit by accident. I still like the helmet idea but so far I have voted down. Dr. Singh gave us the final pathology report on Liam's tumour and it was a benign choroid plexus papilloma. There wasn't anything abnormal about the tumour so that is also good news. Liam will have another MRI in January followed by an oncology consultation at the end of January or beginning of February. It is the hope that at this consultation they will be able to tell us that no further treatment is required. Liam will then have to have a yearly MRI and check-in with Dr. Singh at the oncology clinic just to monitor the tumour remnants. It was the news that we had been praying and hoping to hear. Liam took it all in stride but I breathed a sigh of relief.

We were all excited to hear that this will not be our last visit with Dr. Singh and we will continue to have opportunities to meet with her. She went out of her way to thank Liam again for her bible and the cookies that he made her. She told us her youngest son said, "Liam is a good cooker!" We will continue to pray for her and her family. We took a picture of Liam today with Dr. Singh. We thought we would share it with all of you since so many of you have been praying for her too.


I am so very thankful tonight. Words can not express my heart. My prayers of thanksgiving are inadequate. My words of praise are not enough. I am amazed everyday at the miracle that God is working out in Liam. I wish you could watch him jogging for physio or working hard on his squats to build his strength back up. I wish you could hear him drumming, or singing his favourite Toby Mac song or hear him pray for kids that he knows are still sick. I wish you see what I see and know that you are witnessing a miracle that not even a brilliant surgeon like Dr. Singh could have predicted. We cried out to the Lord with all that we had for Liam. You lifted him in prayer. The Lord heard our sincere cries and He answered in a way that has amazed us and glorified himself. He is a mighty God and He will always answer those who earnestly seek Him.
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
I will not forget.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Waiting

The pitter patter of big and little feet has finally settled down and I believe my precious little children are off to dream sweet dreams. I have been asked so many questions by their inquisitive minds today that I think my ears are sore. It is nice to be able to just sit in the silence and to really think about the day.

If you read my post from yesterday you know that I have been pondering the following questions:

"Do others see why we celebrate? How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God's plan to be completed, a picture of joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?"

So to begin to formulate an answer I started to think about the context in which I am asking the questions. Where are we currently in God's story? Well, we are are no longer waiting for the Messiah. God sent his Son to live among us. That is why we celebrate Christmas. It doesn't mean though that we are finished waiting because we are still waiting for Jesus to come again. So where does that put us in God's story? Well, I think we are in the middle somewhere. I spent sometime earlier today looking at a scripture that Noel Piper suggests is a clear description of what we look back to during the Advent season.

"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things."
1 Peter 1:10-12 (NIV)

It is a great passage, even cooler if you start at the beginning of the chapter and read right until verse 12. Or if you are like me and you see that verse 13 starts with a "Therefore", you read on. I love it when it says "therefore" in the bible. I think it means in light of what you just read pay attention you are now about to learn something exciting! So all day I have been thinking about the "therefore" in this verse. It's exciting because I think it gives me some insight into my questions that I have been pondering. I have read it in all different translations today. I know I am geek.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" 1 Peter 1"13-15 (NIV)

Today's reading was a good reminder for me that yes, the Christmas season is remembering those that waited in faith for God's salvation while at the same time we are waiting to meet Jesus when he comes again. Nevertheless, what I learned the most today was that I have things to do while I wait I need to "prepare my mind for action" and as the message paraphrase puts it "let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness." Those are some of those things that I should be incorporating into our Christmas traditions. Not an easy start! Oh well. Tomorrow, I am going to look at how we currently put Jesus in the centre of all our traditions.

I will leave you with a song that Jason wrote a few years ago called "Waiting." Enjoy:

Waiting








Sunday, 30 November 2008

Hope

He looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, "We have been through a lot, you and Dad and I and God." It was one of those times when I wonder looking back if I should have said something. Maybe I should have tried to explain why that happens sometimes or asked him how he felt about it. But there was something in the way he said it. It was not a question, it was said without bitterness or sadness or regret. It simply was. The statement is so much wiser than his eight little years. He was right, we had been through a lot but he recognized that God had been right there too. Liam never faltered that God loved him, wanted the best for him and that with Him there was our hope.

Today, is the first Sunday of Advent. It is the day my dad puts on his outdoor Christmas lights, the day we start to sing Christmas songs at our Sunday service and the day we light the first candle on our advent wreath. There are many traditions that we as a family have developed and participate in around Christmas time.

This time and my conversation with Liam has reminded me of how important it is to cherish God in all that we do. Not so long ago, my wonderful husband bought me a book that was written about just that purpose. The book is called "Treasuring God in Our Traditions". I loved the book and Noel Piper, who is the author does a great job of helping the reader cast their own vision for a God-centered home and family. In her chapter that is specifically about Christmas, she poses some questions that I have been pondering this afternoon.

"Do others see why we celebrate? How will our home look if our celebration is a picture of anticipation and waiting for God's plan to be completed, a picture of joy in the salvation he has begun for us? What visible things will fill our house as we celebrate what God has done through Jesus?"

They are the type of questions that can be skimmed over easily, but if you really think about them, they are are the questions that can make you stop and honestly ask, Hmm. How does our house look different? Do our children notice a difference? Can they tell that God is being cherished. That He is our treasure. Our hope?

Today's advent candle was the candle of hope. As we lit the candle we were guided to remember the hope we have in Christ. Our friends, Shelly and Patrick and their beautiful daughter Taylor lit the candle today at church. They read "Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ." I want our house to be a light shining in our dark neighbourhood. I want this Christmas season to be a reflection of who we are, of who created and now sustains us. I want those who love us to know that we have been through a lot and God never left our side and He is our hope.
Everyday for the rest of this season I will be reading, praying and sharing what God is continuing to teach me about the season of Advent and Christmas.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Post From Liam

Life since we have been home has been busy with our usual craziness and Liam's continued care of physio and rest. Thanks to everyone who has been sending comments, notes, meals and their love. Liam wanted to let you know how he is doing so the rest of this post is dictated from him.

Hi everybody it is Liam. I am feeling better and getting stronger everyday. My head still jiggles with fluid and I have been bugging my mom by making it jiggle. She does not like this. Today, I went back to McMaster Children's hospital. I took another bible to the 3F clinic to leave in the waiting room because the last one I put there is gone! Yeah! Please pray with me that someone takes this one too. I also brought a special Life Application Bible for Dr. Singh. I wrote in the bible a note for her and I marked a special passage that reminds me of my surgery. I read her this passage from Mark 8:22-25,

"They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."
I told her this reminded me that sometimes Jesus takes two times for stuff to get fixed. Jesus never says why that happens. Dr. Singh said she was going to photocopy the passage and post it in her office to remind her. Please pray that she will read more of the bible than just the part I showed her. I also gave her a batch of chocolate chip cookies that I baked with my dad and my brother and sister.
Dr. Singh said my head looked good and they did not have to take a needle and drain it again like they did last Friday. She decided to keep in my stitches until next Tuesday. I don't have to wear my big bandage around my head anymore and I am excited!
Thanks for commenting, my mom and dad show me what everyone says. Have a great day!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Contentment of the First Snowfall

Last Wednesday, the day we brought Liam home from the hospital, was also the day of our first snow fall here in Milton. The flakes began to fall late in the afternoon and although we did not receive a lot of snow, by evening it was enough to cover the gardens, the grass and collect on all the branches of the trees. Everything was covered in a clean white blanket. When the streetlights came on, the snow actually glistened in the light as it fell to the ground. As I looked out my front window, I probably let out an audible sigh. I love the first snowfall of the year. I love the crisp chill in the air and the way that those beautiful ice crystals can make everything look like all is right with the world. Everything looks content under a blanket of white. It was perfect that this winter event coincided with Liam's homecoming. We were all home under one roof once again.



This weekend I have been thinking about contentment. Pastor Jim has been preparing messages on Philippians and we have been really pulling the passages apart in our bible study with the worship team. I missed meeting with this great group of people while we were in the hospital with Liam and it was a blessing to be with them again this past Thursday night. We are coming to the end of Philippians and we are in the last chapter. Whenever our little group gets together we always look at the context and then we usually start by asking if there was anything that stuck out for anyone or any questions that arose while we were reading the passage.



Well, as I was reading Chapter 4 this weekend I was struck by verse 19. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (NASB) It is a pretty famous passage and I think it is often just thought of as God supplying physical needs. And although in light of our current circumstances it would seem that God has provided physical healing for Liam I think that in looking at the passage with the backdrop of verses 11-13 He has taught me so much more. "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Although I am sure I have not mastered all of what Paul was talking about in the passage I have learned some lessons on being content. Despite the circumstances of these past few weeks I think I felt contentment. God supplied my need by strengthening me, in my weakness to cope with not being able to physically help my son. In reality I could do nothing. I think that it would have been very easy in this situation to become discouraged, to despair and maybe even to doubt God's intentions for my life. But that did not happen. Were their moments when I faltered? Of course. There were moments when I was scared to death. Each time though when I was at my weakest, scripture would flood my heart, or God would impress upon one of your hearts to write a comment, to email, or to pray. I would be reminded once again that God loved me so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross for my sins. How could God go to such lengths to preserve my life and not still be for me? The only possible conclusion is that is always has and will be for us, even when circumstances try to tell us differently. Thank-you for the role that everyone of you who ready this blog played in this very important lesson.



As I look forward to this week, the weather reports are predicting snow for everyday and I am looking forward to seeing the pristine blanket of snow once again!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Liam is Home - Some Picture Memories

We made it home yesterday with Liam safe and sound! Everyone was very excited to see him. He is doing really well. He can walk short distances around the house without assistance. Stairs can still be a bit of challenge but again he does great with someone helping him. A physiotherapist will come to our house once a week to check his progress and some equipment will be delivered to our house today to make life a bit easier for Liam until he gets his strength back. For example if you see us out and about Liam will have a walker for a bit but with the way he has been progressing I am sure he will not need it for long.

It was often a bit of challenge to get posts up at the hospital so some most of our pictures never made it. We thought we would just post a few of our faves.


This is Uncle Brandon (Jason's brother) and Liam playing a Wii boxing game, the day before Liam's second surgery. It got a bit competitive and I was laughing so much I can't even remember who won! I am sure they do! Liam already had the cheerios (we are sure there is a medical term for these, which we have forgotten) placed all over his head for the image guided surgery the next day.




This is Liam and Jason right before heading into the operating room for round number two! We are actually in the operating suite patient waiting room. Liam's surgery was so special that they had arranged for it to start before all the other surgeries of the day, so it was just us and the medical staff. Liam did a great job of being brave and so did his Dad! I found it a bit harder to say goodbye the second time around.


This photo was taken this past Monday. Five days post surgery. Liam is finally able to stand some light and consents to posing for the camera.



Below are photos of in the hospital. The first is Liam's special wheelchair with the head rest. Thank-you Heather for his special licence plate. We did not need to hunt for his chair after we put that on. It also brought about a lot of smiles as parents and patients walked by and smiles bring about rays of sunshine on the ward. The next two photos are of Liam's room, with cards, scriptures and balloons. Finally, the last photo is of Liam sitting in his wheelchair eating his favourite meal in the whole world. Vietnamese beef noodle soup! Thank-you to Cheri and Gerald for bringing him the real deal just to cheer him up! As you can see the lunch the hospital gave him was left to the side of the table.



This last photo, I took yesterday as we waited for Liam's paperwork so he could be released. He is all dressed and ready to go. Around his neck are the bravery beads that he earned while he was in the hospital. Each beads represents a procedure or test that Liam had to have and it tells the story of his journey. Since they did not have beads that represented what God has done we will be heading off to pick some out (when Liam is feeling better) so that His necklace can really be complete.


Thank-you again for all of you that have prayed, posted comments, hugged us, prayed some more and visited. We are printing every comment and prayer and saving them in a beautiful leather book that we brought for Liam. It is something that will be a precious gift and reminder for him in years to come. All of you are a part of what God did in Liam's life. We will be forever grateful.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

One Last Night

Well this is just a quick post to say that everything is looking good for Liam coming home tomorrow!!! We still have some photos and thoughts to share and so will get some of those posted in the next few days.
Thanks to everyone who has been praying.

Each New Day

Well you never really know what each new day will bring. When I (Jason) arrived at the hospital this morning Kim and Liam let me know that he wasn't feeling great. He had vomited once early this morning and spent most of the night going back and forth to the washroom. They think that he may have picked up a bit of a bug while here. They are keeping him for one more day to get rid of the sickness. He seems to be doing much better however, and has had some breakfast and lunch with no problems. The plan is still to be home earlier than first expected and they think that it will happen tomorrow.

Monday, 17 November 2008

A Better Day

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21


As Kimberley was home with Daniel, Caroline and TJ last night I (Jason) got to spend the night at the hospital with Liam. It had been a pretty rough day as his body adjusted to the change in medications, but by the evening we were seeing some signs of improvement and some reasons for celebration. The nurse let us know that he was not scheduled for blood work and so there would be no need for any more needles. Today, which started without needles, ended up being a much better day. Liam's body seemed to have adjusted and so he had his appetite back, he was able to get up and go for walks and we even saw some smiles and heard some laughs. Toward the end of the day we received our biggest surprise. His nurse informed us that she had spoken with Dr. Singh his surgeon and Dr. Singh suggested that based on how well Liam is doing, and how well he adjusted today that there is a chance that Liam might be released from the hospital tomorrow. We have learned to take each day at a time, not to get too excited and that we never know what tomorrow may look like, but it would be amazing if he were to be able to come home so soon. We had been praying about having needles and started out today celebrating that he didn't have to have one. We never imagined that we would be considering the possibility of going home. It is so true that God is able to do more than all we ask or imagine!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A Tough Day but All I See is Hope

Liam had a bit of a rough day today. His nausea is back and he was not able to keep any food down until this evening. His doctor is not worried as she feels that it is due to his body adjusting as they begin to wean him off the steroids. He was upset as he was having a bit of trouble getting both of his legs to go where he wanted them to go. He is extremely tired and not being able to keep down much food again could also affect his coordination. We explained to him that this is normal part of recovery and as the swelling in his brain goes down, he will get stronger. It is hard for a kid who loves to run and play. We will be meeting with physio tomorrow and they will help us work on this. His respiratory therapist came in today to give him a tool to help make sure that his lungs do not start to deflate at the bottoms because he has been in bed for so long. They have made the exercises for this a bit of a game so he did like doing this today. Yeah!

We did have a few smiles today. One when he saw that it was snowing outside. I think he even gave a bit of cheer! And the second was that he watched about five minutes of the Toronto Santa Claus parade before he fell asleep. He loves the bands and the floats! I told him that he and I will have a date to watch the Rose Bowl Parade over the holidays as it is my favourite! I think I inherited this from my mom as she loves it too!

Tonight, I am home with the kids. It is good to be home again even if it for a short time. It is funny how life is so different for us right now. I was reading my big study bible tonight. I love my bible with all it's marks and personal notes and dates. It is the history of my journey with the Lord. It is the story of me. My struggles, my joys, my pain and my delights. There are notes about them all here. Scriptures I have prayed for friends and children and our family. Prayers of thankfulness and praise that I have written in the margins. I know in my head that we have been walking through a valley and yet as I write in my bible this evening I am noting His beauty that I have seen along the way. And only one word comes to mind, "hope". As I close my bible for the night (mostly because I am so tired the words are starting to blur) I will leave you with Psalm 130 where I have made my last notation about Hope.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is loving kindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Another Day

It is Jason here, giving a quick summary as Kim is staying the night with Liam. We knew that Liam was doing really well with his recovery, but it was made especially clear to me this afternoon. I thought Liam was napping and so I thought I might have a look at the gift bag of chocolate that Liam's surgeon had brought him. As I grabbed the bag, Liam's eyes flew open, and with a clear and definitive tone he exclaimed "Hey, don't even think about it!" Liam continued to be alert today and continued to have a great appetite. After the first surgery he really struggled with nausea but he is much better this time around. In fact I think that Liam has eaten more in the last two days then he has in the last two months! Liam also got up to do more walking today. He made it to the washroom a number of time this afternoon and then this evening he went for a walk. We made it for one whole lap around the ward. When he returned and was getting back into bed, he again said that he was hungry. Kim mentioned that we should have shown him the fridge in the patient kitchen when we were on our walk to which he responded "let's go!" So up out of bed he got for another walk and another snack.
One prayer request for the next few days is Liam's IV. He has one that he continues to receive fluids and steroids through, and another was left in his other hand in order to take blood for blood work. This morning they could not get that line to bleed back and so had to poke him with a needle in order to draw blood. Should that line not work again they will continue to need to use needles to draw blood. Liam really dislikes needles (who can blame him) and they make him quite anxious.
Please also continue to pray for Kiddy and her son Tristan. We saw her in the hallway a number of times today and she seemed to be doing much better. We continue to build a relationship.
Loud noises and a lot of light still bother him and can lead to headaches and so we are keeping the room dim and fairly quiet. They are still discouraging to many visitors for the time so as to continue the great progress he is making. when this changes we will let everyone know. He can't wait to see some of his friends!

Thanks to everyone who continues to pray.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Back on the Ward Again

“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word. Just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus saith the Lord.”

It has been sweet just to trust. The Lord continues to amaze and surprise us with all He has in store. Although Liam is extremely tired he continues to exceed all the doctors expectations for his recovery. He accomplished many things today. The first praise that we have is that Dr. Singh felt comfortable enough with Liam’s vitals and blood work to remove the drain from his ventricle. Once again Liam was very brave as they stitched his head without any freezing. The next thing that Liam was very happy to accomplish was that they removed the CPV line from his neck. This triple IV line has been in Liam’s neck since the first operation. It has bothered Liam over the past week or so as it is very uncomfortable. This line was also stitched into his neck and his skin had begun to heal around the stitches so once again Liam had some very brave moments as they removed this line. He is very happy that it is gone! Yeah God! Liam worked again with his physio team and walked with help down the hallway of the critical care unit. We are thrilled that again the risk of his left side being weak has not seemed to have materialized. Late in the day they decided that Liam was well enough to say goodbye to all of his favourite nurses in critical care and they moved him to a regular room. As light and a lot of stimulation seems to trigger a lot of pain for Liam they have given us a private room and we are able to close the door and keep both the lights and the noise very low. We can tell that many people have been praying for Liam to be able to keep his food down so that he can regain his strength and we are happy to report Liam has eaten very well today. As a I write this post he is eating a small pizza and finishing off his milk. His stomach feels good and both Mom and Dad are happy to see him gaining strength.
We also were able to have some much needed family time today with Daniel, Caroline and TJ. Each had a quick visit with Liam but then Jason and I were able to spend some time with them at the Ronald McDonald House where we have been staying. The house is beautiful and was a great retreat for us and the kids to kick back and laugh a bit and spend some time together. We miss the kids a lot and can not wait for our family to be home together once again.
A couple of things that have transpired over the past couple of days. While we were in the critical care the muslim grandmother of the little girl that had been so sick came into say goodbye to all the nurses as her granddaughter was going home! She saw me and gave me a big hug and a kiss on both cheeks and thanked me for praying. I pray that God will continue to draw this woman to himself. The second relationship in which I see God working is with a mom that Brigitte, Tat, Jason, Liam and I prayed for last Sunday. This mom is here by herself without much support as her family and friends live far away. Her son is very sick and she has been told he will be here from two weeks to a month and a half. She is fearful, anxious and hates that her son is sick. As we were talking she asked me does it get an easier? I honestly answered that I would pray about that for her and her son. She told me she was not really into God but I told her that is okay because I really am. She laughed right out loud and we both had a chuckle. We continued to talk and God is definitely building bridges. Please continue to pray that we would in Jesus name be a blessing to this mom while we are here.
Thank-you once again for all of your prayers. You have lifted our names before the Father and we can never thank-you enough.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

One More Time Through the PCCU

We have just been moved into a quieter room in the PCCU (critical care) where Liam should be able to continue his recovery with a little less stimuli to disturb him. We are thankful for the great staff of nurses and doctors who are learning about Liam and continuing to give such great care.
Liam is doing very well, although very tired. He is sleeping most of the time...but who can blame him?! He will remain in the PCCU for one more night for observation as they keep a very close eye on his progress watching for any sign of complication from a second surgery. He continues to make remarkable progress and the physiotherapist said he is doing really well and so far does not see any signs of weakness.
Liam was struggling with nausea a bit last night and early this morning but he just ate some Jello for the first time a few minutes ago (about 4:00pm) and so far so good! We are praying that he is able to eat and keep his strength.
Because Liam is sleeping so much, they are keeping such close watch on the progress and trying to reduce stimuli they have suggested keeping visitations to immediate family until further notice. We will update the blog when that changes Thanks to everyone who is praying!!!!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tubby Has Left the Building!

We just heard from Liam's surgeons and everything went really well, Tubby the Tumour is gone and all preliminary reports again suggest that it is a low grade, benign tumour that should not require any more treatment. Please pray against infection and that he recovers as well as he did the last time!
Many thanks to all who have been praying so diligently.
J+K

Surgery Day...Part Two

Hey everyone. Liam had a really early morning this morning! He was up at about six for another bath before an MRI and then off to surgery again. Jason went into the OR with him this time, but Liam was so sleepy that he didn't seem nervous about anything today. As you pray please pray for the added risks associated with a second surgery such as infection and the need for a transfusion as well as his recovery, that he might once again avoid many of the deficiencies associated with neurosurgery.
We have added a video message from Liam that we took last night.
video

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tuesday Afternoon

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

Liam continued to recite the scripture through his tough times last night. We thank God for his wonderful nurse Carolyn. She was very gentle and caring in hooking Liam back up to the IV. She also spent some time with him to reassure him that he was still doing really well. Within an hour Liam started to feel better and we had a great rest of the night.
This morning my fun loving, joke cracking child was back! His smiles have been allusive since he came out of surgery but this morning, he was more of his usual self. He ate a pancake breakfast and then invited his mother to play Wii with him. Now, we do not have one of these games systems in our house but yesterday Liam’s child life specialist brought him one to cheer him up. So there we were mother and son playing ping pong this morning. Liam creamed me. I knew things were not going to go well when I had trouble even grabbing my racket! I want you to know that I redeemed myself with the fishing game in which I was a pro! Laser hockey was next and I think at this point I started to get to excited and Liam was laughing and told me I had to stop because he was laughing too hard and it was hurting his neck. Oh well! It was fun it lasted.
As we look toward the surgery tomorrow it was nice to have some fun moments today. Dr. Singh is coming to see us at 2pm today to talk about the plan for tomorrow and then tonight they will actually start getting him ready. Therefore, Liam is unable to have visitors after 4pm today as for much for the time he will not be in the room. We get all of our email and the comments for this blog on Jason’s blackberry. Liam loves to read them so feel free to send a message.
We will try to update our prayer requests after we talk to Dr. Singh but our current needs follow. Liam left a red bible for young people yesterday in the children’s play room with a note. Pray that it will bring comfort to a child that is here at McMaster. Please pray that Jason and I will be able to secure a room at the Ronald McDonald house which is across the street. We are getting tired and from experience we know that the next few days will be long ones so a room at the house would be a huge blessing. Pray for rest for both Liam, Jason and I. Pray that Liam will continue to be able to keep food down as he needs his strength for this next surgery. Pray that the IV in his neck will stop giving him problems. It is sore and the nurses have had trouble with it kinking. The risks for this surgery are the same as the last but Dr. Singh has told us that there is an increased risk of infection this time around. Please pray that this will not be a problem for Liam. Pray for the surgery to go smoothly and for Liam to recover just as well the second time around as this time. Pray for connections that we made in the critical care unit last week with nurses and staff. Pray that despite the circumstances that we would clearly see opportunities to be the body of Christ here where ever we walk.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Monday Night

Well, it is Kim's turn to be at the hospital tonight, so I (Jason) will try to do my best to update the blog again. Liam and I had a great night last night. we has a lot of fun and when it was time to actually sleep Liam did well there too. Aside from a few washroom trips he managed to get some much needed rest. This morning also started off well, but he was sick to his stomach and then was not much in the mood for eating the rest of the day. He did have a little to eat toward the end of the day but was again sick just before I left tonight. He gets a bit discouraged after being sick so we pray he does not get too down. He has not had much to eat this week and with the surgery approaching quickly we are praying that he can eat well tomorrow, get his strength up and be feeling positive.
I know that Kim has been sharing lessons she has learned and so I thought I would share some neat moments we shared with Liam today. There was a moment when it was just the three of us, and Liam asked if I could read 2 Corinthians 3. I was a bit surprised, but I got my bible and read "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort." Kim and I realized that this was one of the scriptures that Kim had hung on the wall of the hospital room. We were not sure that Liam had really noticed, but apparently he has been reading them and finding comfort from God's word. Similarly, I had taken a moment to read the story from Mark 8 (that I had referred to in a previous post) in which Jesus heals a blind man, but does so in two steps. I have found comfort in that story over the last few days and thought that it might comfort Liam as well. After I read it to him, I was not sure he had really heard me or found it all that comforting. He had been tired and I wasn't sure whether he was able to pay that close attention. Later in the evening, however, my parents were visiting and when the topic of his surgery came up Liam stopped and asked that I share about the story where Jesus healed a man in two steps. I asked Him to tell us about it and he continued to recount the story of when a blind man was brought to Jesus. Jesus spit on his eyes and asked the man what he saw. The man said he saw people but they looked like trees. Jesus again touched the man's eyes and his sight was restored. Liam had listened the story, taken it to heart and indeed had found comfort in God's word. I was reminded of the thought found in Isaiah 55:11 that when God's word goes out it does not return empty but accomplished what He desires. We can share God's word with our children, and trust that despite what the initial reaction or appearance might be, that it can and does make a great difference. God's Word truly is amazing!
As I have been writing, I received a call from Kim and Liam. Liam is a bit discouraged as they have decided to reconnect his IV in order to get his fluids back up and deliver some steroids to control swelling. It is probably best for his body but it is not as comfortable for him and it means that he has to wheel the IV pole around with him everywhere. Please pray that he will not feel down, and that his body will be strengthened.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday worship with Liam and a lesson

I am typing this post from our home. Jason is staying with Liam tonight and I drove home to the house to surprise our other three children. Much attention has been paid to Liam since his diagnosis and many of my posts have been about him but God has blessed Jason and I with three other wonderful children. They too are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and God is drawing each of them closer to Him through this trial that we have faced together. It is wonderful to be able to see God molding and shaping them into who He wants them to be. I got such special hugs and attention from them tonight when I arrived home and it was hard to hold back the tears. Daniel and Caroline make Jason and I so proud as we have watched them try to support Liam, us and their grandparents through this time. They never complain, they always pitch in and they are Liam's most faithful prayer warriors. Trinity Joy, our youngest at only three also loves to pray for her big brother and she is always there for a giggle. It is good for their mommy to be home with them.

Our day today, started off like most Sunday's with church. Although we could not worship with our church family, who we missed terribly, we hosted church right in Liam's hospital room. Liam, Jason, our friend Cheri and I gathered to sing praises to our God. It was Liam's request morning and we started with "I love you Jesus, deep down in my heart". Liam sang and played drums on a box we got him, while Jason played guitar. We continued to sing for a while, we read some scriptures that people have sent us and that I had picked and we prayed. It was a very special time. Although, we did have to close Liam's door, Liam's wall is one big window facing the hallway, so everyone could see what we were doing and I am sure they probably could hear us too. Yeah God for more moments of opportunity.

Liam continues to do well. He is eating and walking for short journeys down the hallway. They did cap off his last IV that is in his neck and started to give his medication by oral pills instead. Pray that he will continue to keep food down so that he can stay with this type of treatment instead of the IV. The itching of his head is still a problem and he and I did not get a lot of rest last night. Pray for a restful sleep for both Liam and Jason.

In the past this blog has always been about lessons that I have learned from our extraordinary God. Tonight, I thought I would share one with you. As I have walked the halls of the hospital, praying through my own struggles, I have noticed the halls are never empty. Someone is always walking deep in thought. I have looked at their faces and wondered about their stories. I have wondered who they are worried about and how they are coping. I have prayed for these people and their stories that only God knows. I think part of what God has been teaching me during this time is to give me a better and maybe more informed glimpse of what Jesus sees. Sometimes you physically see the pain on their face like the mother we (Tat, Brigitte, Liam, Jason and I) meet and prayed for in the lounge this afternoon. Many times though you don't see anything different. They walk past and they smile politely because that is what they are suppose to do but it is not how they feel. It also does not make their pain any less real. I know this because I too have smiled while inside my heart was breaking. I have often heard our Pastor, Jim Danielson, say that we should always greet everyone, like they have a broken heart because they probably do. I have always thought that was a good idea and wondered why sometimes I don't. God is teaching me more about the compassion needed and a better understanding of how impossible it is for me who did not make the heart to mend it. I am called to be Jesus hands and feet here on earth but I can not mend hearts. That is the Makers job alone. I pray that Yahweh who is the maker of all hearts will draw those that I meet in the hallway closer so He can fix what He alone created. As you head out tomorrow please pray the same for those that pass you in your hallways. God Bless and good night.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

The End of Another Day



It is Jason again, at the end of another day. Liam had a great day today. His stomach settled down which allowed him to begin to eat today. The bit of swelling that he had in his face has begun to subside (he even let Kim take a picture for the blog ) and he is feeling pretty good. He has been up a lot today making trips to the washroom, taking short walks down the hall, sitting up and watching movies in his wheelchair. He was really excited to see his brother and sisters today and we all met in the family lounge to watch a movie and then went to the game-room for Pacman and Foosball! Liam began playing his game of Foosball from his wheelchair, but some of his competitive nature came out as not long after the start of the game he was standing to play! All in all it was a great day.
As his second surgery approaches next Wednesday, we have begun to organize prayer for the surgery day and the days to follow. It has been such a blessing to Liam to have the list of the people who are praying for him at different hours around the clock. In the sad moments or the distressing times he often asks about who is praying for him at that moment. Kim says that he often wakes her throughout the night to ask who is praying, which seems to bring him great comfort. With this in mind we would like to make sure that we have this for him for the next surgery as well. We have some holes to fill on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and would like to extend our list through to Monday which will cover him through the roughest days. Because we will be at the hospital between now and then, without consistent Internet access, my dad has agreed to collect all the times and bring us a list for Wednesday. His e-mail is gmcgibbon1@cogeco.ca
Below are the half hour slots we still have free:
Wednesday
12:30am
1:00am
9:30am
10:00am
10:30am
3:00pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
7:30pm
8:00pm
9:00pm
10:00pm
Thursday
12:30am
1:00am
4:00am
5:00am
9:30am
10:30am
11:00am
3:00pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
6:00pm
6:30pm
7:00pm
7:30pm
8:00pm
9:00pm
10:00pm
Friday
12:00am
12:30am
1:00am
4:00am
5:00am
9:30am
10:00am
10:30am
1:00pm
3:30pm
4:00pm
4:30pm
6:00pm
6:30pm
7:00pm
7:30pm
8:00pm
9:00pm
10:00pm
We will also need to fill all the slots Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Again, if you are able to sign up for a slot please e-mail my dad who will add you to the list: gmcgibbon1@cogeco.ca
Thanks to all who have been praying, leaving comments and sending e-mails to support, encourage and uplift us. We have not been able to answer all of them, but we are downloading them when we get a moment with a wireless connection and reading them throughout the day.

Liam's New Room

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Deuteronomy 31:8


I am sitting beside Liam in his new private room! They asked us if we wanted to move late last night because they had one open. It was such a blessing last night to be here with Liam. He and I were able to close the door and have some privacy. We both slept peacefully. It has been a definite praise for both of us.


Yesterday we received news that Liam's next surgery date has been moved up to next Wednesday, November 12th. They were able to clear schedules and get everything booked!
Liam was a little down yesterday as the reality of another surgery began to sink in. It was hard for him when he was feeling so sick to his stomach to think about having to do this all again. He did have some highlights yesterday with visitors and the child life specialist came to visit to bring him his bravery beads. He has a big string already, each bead representing a part of his journey and all the different procedures and tests that he has had to face. We also had a boost yesterday when his physio therapist came to visit and give him his exercise plan. Again we saw God's hand in that it was someone who we had met at Ryerson Camp who was the nurse one summer. Liam was up numerous times walking to the bathroom or to a wheelchair that allowed him to get out and about. This morning he went to the family lounge and made it through a whole movie. He has begun to eat a bit more today and keep it down. He has had apple sauce, a grilled cheese smuggled in by Grandpa, and even had a hamburger for lunch. So far he has kept it down.
He is doing well today and is looking forward to a visit from his siblings Daniel, Caroline and T.J. it will be nice to all be reconnected again after several days apart.
Liam says hi to everyone and thank you for the continued prayers. If you could pray specifically for the itchiness of his head dressing that would be great as it still bothers him quite a bit.

Friday, 7 November 2008

This is the Day

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

This scripture has been flooding my heart and my mind ever since we heard the news that Liam would have to undergo another surgery. I have to admit at first I kept talking to God and asking "why have me think of this scripture? Today is not a good day. Give me another scripture to hold on to. I don’t like this scripture today. It is hard to rejoice when I am shocked, heartbroken and tired." But as the night wore on the scripture would not go away and I found myself humming an old praise song called “This is the day”. It is a happy upbeat song and the more I repeated the scripture and sang the song the more I felt at peace. Today, I think my emotions are once again following God’s will for my life. Although I still wish that Liam did not have to go through anymore pain I am confident that His love for Liam and for us has not changed. He knew that Liam would face this and already we are seeing moments of God’s grace and beauty. Even last night during my low moments God was providing opportunities. I had a conversation with the grandmother of the little girl who was in Liam’s Critical Care unit. She is a Muslim woman who loves her granddaughter with all of her heart and is devastated by her condition and scared of what will happen. It had been a particularly hard day as her granddaughter had been struggling since last night. We shared our sorrows and then God provided an opportunity to share my hope in my God that loves us so much and wants to heal us. I shared that He wanted it so badly that He sacrificed His own son Jesus so that we would be saved. I also shared with her that I had been praying to my God that saves and singing praises over her granddaughter while I was in the PCCU and that I would continue to do so. She listened intently and said “Yes please, please keep praying to the God you know.” I promised her that I would also ask all of you. Please pray for this family. Pray for the little girl’s physical healing. Pray that God would get all the glory for everything that happens. Pray that this beautiful Grandmother would begin to see more of Jesus and how He really does save those who put their trust in Him. Pray too that I would be given more opportunities to support her and her family.

Our prayer specific needs for today are for Liam’s physical restoration. He has asked me to ask you all to pray that his head would stop itching and that his stomach would not be upset any more. He has still not been able to keep anything down. Please pray too that the swelling that has started today would recede. Pray that Jason and I would continue to lay our burdens at Jesus feet. Pray that Dr. Singh would be able to make all the arrangements that she wants to make today for Liam’s next surgery. Please keep praying. Many times throughout the night last night Liam would wake me up to ask who was praying right at that moment. When I would tell him, he would always drift right off to a peaceful sleep again. It is a huge comfort for him.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Day After Continued

This is Jason, Kimberley's husband finishing up the report on the day. Kimberley is still at the hospital with Liam and I have returned home to visit with our other amazing children, fill them in on how things are going and help them get a start on the day tomorrow.
It continued to be an amazing day as we watched Liam make such progress towards recovery (see previous post for some details). He truly astounded everyone with how well he did! He did have the final drain removed and was transferred out of ICU to the regular ward. He seems to be showing no signs of the possible effects of the surgery that we had been told to expect. In fact, after viewing the results of today's MRI the surgeons said that there was hardly any evidence that he had undergone surgery at all!!! We continue to be thankful for the progress he is making.
Unfortunately, the surgeons had some other news based on the MRI that they had to share with us today as well. The pictures revealed that there was significantly more of the tumour left behind than they had thought, more than they are comfortable with. After a consultation between the members of Liam's surgical team, it was decided that a second surgery will be required in which they will go back in and remove the rest of the tumour. I would be lying if I suggested that there was not a bit of shock, sadness, some tears and fear upon receiving the news. We have felt so much peace, and have been lifted by the prayers of so many during these difficult months and I know that we will be carried through this next stage as well. Liam was also informed about the news by Dr. Singh, after which he simply nodded and said "OK". His courage really is amazing.
We are so grateful for the support, encouragement and prayer that has been given thus far, and if it is not too much, we would ask that you might consider praying for a few weeks longer.
I have been thinking about the story where Jesus heals the blind man but only partially at first. For whatever reason Jesus uses two steps to bring the healing to completion. I think that I will probably look that verse up tomorrow and spend some time reading and praying with it, but I think some sleep is needed first!
Blessings,
Jason.

The Day After

We are having problems getting an internet connection today. Sorry to all those who were waiting patiently for an update.

Liam had a good night last night. He is in the Pediatric Critical Care Unit. Both Jason and I were with him until 11:30 pm. Our nurse Melanie then came to tell us that she had a room with a bed that she could give us so Jason stayed with Liam and I got some much needed rest until about 2:30 am. Liam had a few rough moments and he began asking for his mom so Jason went off to sleep and I stayed with Liam. I had the privilege to remind him that his friend Tat was praying for him at that time. He was very comforted by this and began to rest better. I sang worship songs to him and it was a wonderful time of God’s presence right there in the PCCU. I was the only parent in the room with four nurses (one for each of the children in Liam’s room.) Although Liam had a pretty good night it was at times busy and hectic for the other children with alarms and treatments. No matter who it was that was having trouble worship songs and prayers filled the room to encourage both staff and the little ones who were working hard in the night. It really was a special time. Liam continued through the night to ask me what time it was and who was praying. He would smile as a read him names he recognized and ask who is that and where do they live for names that he did not know. Liam’s prayer partner list was also an encouragement to one of the doctors (a resident) this morning. She asked me lots of questions about it and said she had never seen something like that before. She thought it was a great idea.

God’s hand on Liam has continued to amaze us. They have now removed his catheter, another IV line, and they have him up playing a video game! Can you imagine! Many of the nurses and doctors have come by to tell us how well he is doing. God made an amazing kid when he made Liam and designed his life! It is incredible to be along for the ride. Liam has already had a MRI today for them to check the residual of the tumour and the drain that they have placed in his ventricle. If they like what they see then they will be removing Liam’s drain this afternoon and transferring him to a regular room! We are so excited that we could burst! Everyone involved in his care seem to be so surprised at how quickly he is recovering. We are not surprised as we know and can actually feel that he is being covered in prayer. God has heard our cries and He is answering them as only He can do! Our prayer requests continue to be for the three other children that are in Liam’s room. Pray that their parents would lay their heavy burdens on Jesus and find true rest. Pray that these little ones would feel the presence of Jesus and be comforted. Pray for wisdom for the staff that is caring for them and for the Holy Spirit to rest in the room. Pray that God would be glorified in all that happens. For us as a family we request that you continue to pray for Liam’s physical restoration and for God to grow him spiritually through all of this. Pray for the procedure of the drain removal as it can be a bit painful. Pray that although Jason and I may continue to be physically tired that the Holy Spirit would continue to carry and guide us. We can never thank-you enough for all that you are doing in holding us up in prayer before the Father.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Liam's Surgery Update #3

Thank-you Lord Jesus for today. My heart is overcome with gratitude. I have just come from ICU and seeing Liam. He is settled in quite nicely and is already off oxygen. He talked to us and has visited briefly with Grandma Cheryl, Grandpa Gerry, Uncle Brandon, Nathalie & Auntie Glenna. He is still very sleepy but he is looking good. The surgery itself went very well. Liam did not have to have any blood transfusions and he is already showing signs of strength in his left hand side. Dr. Singh was not able to get all of the tumour but they still feel that it is not cancerous. Liam will have another MRI tomorrow to help determine with the pathology report if more treatment will be required. Please continue to pray for Liam. We ask that you pray for a peaceful night for him, for the drain that they have placed in his brain to be able to be removed as soon as possible, for continued strengthening of his left hand side and for rest. There are three other children in the critical care unit with Liam. Pray for these little ones and their families. Pray that we would be able to shine the hope of Christ throughout our time with them. We will try to post again tomorrow.

Liam Surgery Day Update # 2

We just recieved an update from the OR. The surgeons are closing and Liam has done really well. Dr. Singh will be out to talk to us in about 45 minutes. We should get to see Liam after that. We are so thankful to Jesus. Praise the Lord for all that He has done.

Liam's Surgery Day Update #1

Praise God we were able to get internet access and to give you all an update. We arrived at McMaster this morning bright and early. Liam was in great spirits, cracking jokes and making us all laugh. He did a great job while they attached these nodes to his head and inserted his IV. Later on he made fun of me in my scrubs outfit. He said my hat looked dumb. I told him he looked pretty funny with these Cheerios attached to his head.
God is already at work here at Mac. I was able to pray with Liam in the operating room with Dr. Singh at my side before they administered the sleep medicine. We were also able to share with Dr. Singh that there was lots of people praying not only for Liam but for her and her family as she would be spending time away from them today to be with him.
We are being blessed by your prayers. We have Liam's prayer list here with us and are amazed at all the names. Words can not express our gratitude. Both Jason and I feel calm and at peace. God is very much in control of our time here at Mac. We will try to get a message out again later in the day if we get a message from the OR or when Liam is out of surgery.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Liam's Bed

God is good. Although a bed did not become available for Liam, he had a great day. It is almost summer like temperatures here today so Liam was able to run around outside, play at the park with his friends and enjoy some sunshine. We also had a few laughs today. Liam's friend Tat gave him a gift so Liam could look like him. He has just left for his basketball league practice and scrimmage. He is thrilled as he had thought last week would be his last time. He left the house telling me he was going to be playing like Chris Bosh. For those of you who don't know who that is he is the star of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Team and Liam is a huge fan. So we are all packed and ready to go for the morning and Liam is not worried at all because he is playing his favourite game in the world! Yeah God.



The new plans will have us leaving the house tomorrow at about 5:50am. We need to check in with Liam no later than 6:45am and they will be taking him to the MRI centre by 7:15am. Dr. Singh will meet us there as Liam's surgery will be an image guided surgery. Meaning they will use the images from the MRI machine tomorrow morning and actually draw on Liam's head where they will go in etc. His surgery is still scheduled for 9 am and it is still expected to last 6-7 hours. Thank-you again to everyone who has been praying and will be praying. Liam's prayer sheet is almost full for the full 10 days! As always Liam will be taking a bible tomorrow. It is one that our friend Penny in Burlington sent to us. Liam loves that is an NIV version that is for people who might be asking who Jesus is. We will let you know when we update where he decided to leave it this time. We are all feeling really good and trusting that God is in control. He has given us a peace that can only come from Him.

"But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Exodus 14:13-14

A bed for Liam

McMaster Children's Hospital just called and they do not have a bed for Liam at this moment. They are going to keep trying to find him one. We will keep you posted.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Liam's New Hair

I have been trying to get this post up for a couple days but we have had lots of last minute things to try to get ready. Better late than never I guess!


On Friday morning Liam took another step in getting ready for his surgery. He cut his hair. It took about an hour for the hair dresser to put his hair in lots and lots of tiny pony tails and then to shave his head. Liam had decided a long time ago that if he had to cut his hair he wanted to donate it. The charity that Liam chose is called Angel Hair for Kids and they make and provide wigs for kids that have cancer. The tiny pony tails allowed the hair dresser to get the most hair possible to be donated. So although Liam was not a big fan of the ponytail treatment he said it was worth it! Below are some before, during and after pics of Liam.





Well, it seems as if Liam has started a fashion trend as Friday night at our outreach event Liam's Grandpa Bob asked him to shave his head. So Liam did! On our driveway!



And then on Sunday night Jason came home with a new do! Here is a picture of the boys trying to look cool with their new hair.




Tomorrow morning we will be phoning to find out if Liam can be admitted. Please pray that there will be a bed available for Liam. It would just help to be able to get him settled in the hospital before the surgery on Wednesday. We will let you know as soon as we can if he got in!


"From the depths of despair, O Lord, I call for your help...I am counting on the Lord; yes I am counting on Him. I have put my hope in His word."
Psalm 130:1 & 5

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Shine Your Light Event 2008

Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these."
Mark 12:29-31
Many of you know that for the last couple of years we have hosted a party at our house on Halloween night. The party is for our community and we use this night to share our lives with our neighbours. This is usually one of my favourite things that we do as a family and this year was no exception.


First of all, I want you to know that this amazing event would not have happened this year if it had not been for our church family who came around us to get everything done. They did such an amazing job! They stuffed candy bags, hoisted speakers onto our balcony, hung Sanctuary Milton banners off our roof, projected a movie out our front window, made pots of pots of hot chocolate and coffee and everything else in between! Our house looked fantastic and they looked fantastic in all of their fabulous costumes. I had one lady who told me that "your house is the best on the street for kids because it is so fun and everyone is so friendly." Another woman told Jason that she has been at our house every year and this year she made her husband take the night off work to come and see it because it is so different.


Jason's aunt told us that she could hear the worship band at least three streets over and our songs were carrying all over the neighbourhood. Little kids danced on our driveway, parents chatted with our church family over coffee and hot chocolate that we provided, we gave out hundreds and hundreds of candy bags with scripture and I think it is safe to say that everyone had a great time.

There were many great conversations and connections that I heard about from the night. I personally had some great moments sharing with folks but one that sticks out in particular. Tara and her husband Peter and their two children, neighbour's from two streets over asked me why we do the event since it was her impression that most Christians "look down" on Halloween. I got to share with her that Jesus calls us to love our neighbours and what better night to do it, then when everyone is coming to our door. She was genuinely surprised. She has always thought that "church" was a place that just wanted your money and to tell you what you are doing wrong. I invited both her and Peter to come to church on Sunday to see for themselves what it was all about. Peter loved the worship team and said, "Maybe it is something that they should check out." Yeah God!! I pray that God will continue to work on the seeds that were planted and that He would continue to draw them to Himself. We are looking forward to see what He is going to do!





Friday, 31 October 2008

Liam's Prayer Partners List

Thank-you to everyone that has blessed us with your stories, emailed us, sent around the prayer list and committed to pray for Liam. It has been amazing to see God work in Liam and all of our children as they see the names and places that you are from, come into our inbox. We have had some requests to post times that are still open to pray for Liam. I will start with the first couple of days.

November 5th - Liam's Surgery Day

3:00am - 3:30 am
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
2:30 pm - 3:00 pm
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm
3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
5:00 pm - 5:30 pm
7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

November 6th - Liam will be in Intensive Care

12:00 am - 1:00 am
4:00 am - 4:30 am
5:00 am - 5:30 am
9:00 am - 9:30 am
9:30 am - 10:00 am
11:00 am - 11:30 am
Every half hour slot from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
5:00 pm - 5:30 pm
7:30 pm - 8:00 pm
9:00 pm - 9:30 pm
10:00 pm - 10:30 pm
10:30 pm - 11:00 pm

Pray for us today as we prepare to host an outreach event at our house tonight with our worship team and church. Pray that we will live out Colossians 3:14 "Above all else clothe yourself in love..." to everyone that comes to our door. Pray that our acts of love will point people to Jesus. Pray for opportunities to connect with our community. Pray that the light of Jesus would reign as we pray for all of you, that today you would use every opportunity that He gives, to share what He has done in your lives.

"Do all these things without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Phillipians 2:14-15

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Pre-op Day at McMaster for Liam

Yesterday was Liam's pre-op at McMaster Children's Hospital. It was a long tough day especially for Jason and I. As always even in a tough day there were moments when God reminded us that He is in control and that He will work everything for good. The first was when we pulled into the underground parking at Mac. I was starting to get a bit nervous and wondering if we were doing the right thing bringing Daniel and Caroline. Liam out of the blue said to us all. " I know why I have this brain tumour. It is so I can tell people about Jesus and not get in trouble." I hate it when my eight year old is smarter then I am. Here I was worried about us and he was already focusing on what God might be asking him to do.

As always when we go for an appointment somewhere Liam brought a bible to give away. He decided today was the day that he would give away the bible that Jack from The Family Christian Bookstore in Burlington gave him. It is geared for kids Liam's age. Our first stop was to wait to see a child life specialist who would explain the surgery to our children and answer any questions that they might have. She showed them pictures of the operating room, some of the equipment and did a great job of putting their minds at ease. It was in this children's waiting area that Liam decided that this would be a good place to leave his bible. Please pray for the child that picks up the blue bible. We saw so many families yesterday. Families in crisis trying to cope and I just can't even imagine what it is like for them and for their children without the comfort of Jesus. Pray that they will read Liam's personal message inside the front cover and hear his heart sharing about His God who saves, who loves them and who cares about what they are going through. After Liam arranged the bible on one of the kid's tables just so we were off to take him to get his blood work done and meet with Liam's surgeon.

Liam really does not like needles. Who does? He was really brave and was holding tightly to his prayer bear from Biltmore Baptist as the nurse got ready to poke him. As a looked at him large crocodile size tears started to spill down his cheeks. I went over and held his hand and got him to look at me. He was really very brave and it was over quickly. Although he was a bit concerned with the amount of blood that took from him!

Our final stop for the day was to visit the neurosurgery clinic and Dr. Singh. We had an amazing moment when Liam started looking for one of the bibles that he had left on an earlier visit. He was very excited to discover that someone had taken it home! It was no longer anywhere in the waiting area and believe me he looked! Please continue to pray with Liam that the person who took this bible will begin to learn about Jesus and will come to know Him.

Our meeting with Dr. Singh was great for Liam but hard on Jason and I (we had to sign consents and listen to all the risks associated with the surgery). Dr. Singh is wonderful. As she walked into the waiting area. She called to Liam. "Hello Sunshine!" He is at ease with her and she did a wonderful job explaining some of the unpleasant things that Liam will feel after the surgery. After Liam left the room, Dr. Singh also did a great job of explaining to us what they saw on the new MRI. There is not much change from his last set of pictures which is good news as the tumour has only grown a little. She is still confident that is not cancerous and that because it has grown we are doing the right thing by having it removed now before it causes significant problems for him. We are continually thankful to God that he allowed us to find it now rather than later and that he has put together such a fabulous surgical team. There will be four neurosurgeons in the operating room! Liam's surgery will start at 9am on Wednesday November 5th and will last approximately 6-7 hours. They will even allow one of us to go into the operating room with him and stay until he is asleep. This is an answer to prayer as my biggest fear was having to leave him alone when he was awake and scared.

Thanks to all who have already signed up for a time on Liam's prayer partner list. He loves to see all the emails come in. He gets very excited. If you have not signed up yet please just send us an email with the time or times that you would like to pray. We have divided the days into 1/2 hour slots all day and night every day from November 4th - November 14th. Thank-you to all who prayed for us yesterday. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in all of this.

Watch for a post later in a couple days. Liam is shaving his head and donating the hair to a charity called Angel Hair for Kids. This charity makes wigs for children who have cancer. We will take before and after pictures. Also we are getting ready for our annual Halloween event that we host at our house. This event reaches out to neighbours in our community. Our worship team plays music on our front lawn and last year we handed out over 400 pieces of candy with scriptures. Pray that we will shine for His light on Friday night to those that come.