Can you hear me now?/Simply Christian

Posted by tom | Jan 18, 2012

Today, Eden's receiving a replacement of her ear tubes. Pray for a smooth surgery/recovery. We look for forward to the improvement of her hearing, leading to an improvement in communication.

As I'm caring for our youngest during Eden's procedure, I'll miss the launch of this term's PSU-Harrisburg C.S. Lewis Seminar.  But I can pray for the noon gathering. Take a few minutes to join me to pray for the members to reconnect, recap previous chapters of N.T. Wright's Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, complete Chapter 7, and most importantly walk away with richer understanding of/actual with with Jesus the Christ.

PS. If you're unfamiliar with the work of N.T. Wright (former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world’s leading Bible scholars who is now serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at University of St. Andrews’s School of Divinity) and desire to learn more about his writing/perspective, I encourage you to check out Believing and Belonging (excerpt from Simply Christian) and Georgetown University Veritas Forum Presentation (10/20/2006). I had the privilege of attending this Veritas Forum at which N.T. Wright spoke, my notes are posted on this blog at Simply Christian.

Updated: 1/18/2012, 8:56 AM.

Eden's growing up so fast!

Posted by tom | Dec 17, 2011

Several times this weeks I've heard from friends at our local assembly, "Eden's getting so big." She is. And she's getting so fast. PT is doing an amazing job. Pray for her to watch where she's going. Also receiving good outside reports on her reading acuity. Wow! To God be the glory!

God's gift of each day with her is precious. Do you remember when we were unsure whether she'd live through her first year? Now she's almost 7 and in first grade. What do I ask God the Father for this Christmas? His continued healing of Eden: head, heart, and hands. AND the patience/grace to be the parent I have been called to be.

Eden Update: Good report on her eyes!

Posted by tom | Nov 18, 2011

The other day Eden visited the eye doctor and her eyes are doing well. She continues to practice closing her left eye and is making great progress, so much so that she was eager to show her eye doctor. Eden's eye doctor found her eyes to be "very healthy" and her vision stable. As such she does not need to go back to eye patching and she does not need to go back to her eye doctor for six months. To God be the glory!

Pray for continued healing. Pray for perseverance with practising the closing of her left eye. As you may remember, Eden receives eye drops every two hours to moisten her eye and she received glasses when she was 2.5 years old.

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:14-16 NIV).

Praise/Request coming off the weekend

Posted by tom | Oct 17, 2011

Praise: The whole family enjoyed celebrating my cousin Chris' wedding (congrats!). As for a road trip with one overnight in a hotel, I was encouraged by Eden's perseverance in the midst of continued growth, healing, and skill development. I woke up this morning with the sense that a 2012 summer roadtrip may be a possibility. Yes, I'm optimistic with the glass half full . . .

E.g., The younger two slept most of the night. They only had a 1:30 - 3 am intermission. They arose for the day at their usual time, 5:30am. The family had breakfast at 6:30am (would have shown up earlier if it was available earlier) and were for the most part in the pool by 7:15. Of course, this couldn't have been done with out the support of my parents. 

E.g., Lots of spills in the grass, on the gravel drive, etc. But Eden picked herself up, with some help at times, and kept going. All the exertion is part of what enabled her to sleep so soundly on Saturday and Sunday evening.

Eden has a hearing test today and it's causing her much angst. Pray for peace and patience not only for her, but also those seeking to serve her. Pray for the strength for physical therapy after school. 

PS. Wedding pictures coming :)

Revisiting Candyland

Posted by tom | Sep 12, 2011


When the twins were little we played hours of Candyland. Also known as "The Game that Never Ends" (you know, you get within a few blocks of winning and the next card you pick up is Plumpy. Yeah, you know...). I haven't played Candyland for so long but we "rediscovered" it this weekend while cooped up in the house for several days. The joy is that Eden is now able to play and she loves it. This excites me b/c it's a developmental milestone of sorts. She's kind of behind on the "game-playing curve". But now I'm back in Candyland. I guess there are worse things... It's also a joy to find something that all the kids can do and enjoy together. Yes, even the older girls enjoy playing. -- Theresa on FB, 9/12/2011.

More from Tom: In contrast to some of my weekend visits to Candyland, "The Game that Never Ends" lived up to its reputation this morning. But none-the-less it is fun to fill the time between when the girls get on their buses (twins earlier than Eden) mostly with Candyland -- Lily even joined us for the game :) 

Eden's intense about playing, but even more excited about getting back to school. She really missed being in class the two days cancelled due to Tropical Storm Lee's flooding. Hoping and earnestly praying all the girls enjoy their first day back and that the schools are ready for all that the members of their community bring back with them.

PS. Wish I had more time to play games! Something to look forward to in the mornings, evenings, and weekends. BTW, We also gave Chutes and Ladders a try. The Candyland characters draw more interest at this time. It's a lot of Lost Cities and Bohnanza (i.e., the Bean Game) with the twins :) More on that later . . .

Lost Cities Bohnanza

Cheerleading's a blast!

Posted by tom | Sep 2, 2011

Eden's transitioned from ballet/tap to Upwards Cheerleading and she loves it. I had opportunity watch her practice last night while Theresa picked up a brood of hens (or should they be called a flock now that they're a little older). Wow!

I wonder if our youngest will give us 4 for 4 in cheerleading. Last week Theresa shared on FB,

"What an excited 6 yr. old cheerleader we have in our house tonight! I hope she never loses her determination and confidence. And yes, I'm saying that even after spending much of the day ready to pull my hair out! Help me keep things in perspective, Lord!"

Eden's super excited

Posted by tom | Aug 29, 2011

Yes, Eden's super excited to start first grade today! Pray that she has the mobility for the regular bus, strength for a full day, and the care she needs for special moments (e.g., eye drops every two hours, lunch, stairs). Last week we visited to see the layout for the 200+ kids in 11 first grade classes in the elementary school (full-day literacy kindergarten, grades 1-4). Wow! 

BTW, the twins seem ready for Middle School with their bags, folders, lunches, clothes, etc. Are we?

Eden's pumped for the fall!

Posted by tom | Aug 20, 2011

Earlier in the week, Eden had her first Upwards cheerleading practice. She's truly enjoying it more than our summer foray into ballet/tap dance. Join me in praying that her enthusiasm continues through the whole fall football season. She loves moving about and it's great exercise/skill development for her at an age when kids aren't as picky about how things look.

More news: Yesterday Eden received a letter from her First Grade Teacher. After Theresa read the letter to her, she rushed to find me and share the letter with me. As the letter's border had the letters of alphabet, Eden, Lily, and I sang the alphabet song in response :) Next week we'll walk through the elementary school and see her classroom. School starts Monday, August 29. I can't wait for school to start. I guess one could say that we're all pumped for the fall, Eden has expressed the most enthusiasm. Pray that this carries us through the tough days, particularly for Eden to develop the strength for 'full day,' i.e., school without the afternoon nap. To God be the glory!

Praise: No more eye patching for Eden

Posted by tom | Jul 20, 2011

God the Father continues to hear & answer the cries of His people in amazing ways in Eden's life. To God be the glory!

Join us in praise: Six years of daily eye patch wearing -- many battles but Eden (& her parents) persevered. Rewarded by NO MORE PATCHING!! We don't know who's more excited -- Tom*, Theresa, and/or Eden!

A little more: Yesterday afternoon, Theresa took Eden to the eye doctor for her annual dilation of pupils and eye exam.  Reports from the past year (we go every 3 months) show improved vision in Eden's left eye. We shared with a number of friends and family that we were hoping to finally hear that she does not need to wear any eyepatch anymore. Despite Eden's cold and missing of a nap, the visit and afternoon/evening went well.  Answered prayers.

Eden goes back in four months to see how things are, so it may not be permanent, but it feels like it! Pray that it will be permanent. To God be the glory!

*Over the past several days I've pushed for the eye patch right after the 6 am breakfast. The first part of the wearing occuring during a video.

Eden's loving Summer Camp!

Posted by tom | Jul 7, 2011

Over the past several years, Eden's participated in a summer weekday morning "camp" for "individuals with developmental or physical challenges." This is the first year she's been able to go "on her own" and engage well with the rest of the camp participants. Two significant parts of the transition have been

  • caring for some other "campers"
  • continued improvement in the ability to get around

It's such a joy to hear her enthusiasm for the camp, the campers, the helpers, and the program (including the crafts which she brings home). Praise God! What a joy to see the healing power of God evidenced in our Eden's (& our family's) daily life.

Watch out local EMS, Eden can't wait for the camp to visit your facility :)

Eden Performs at Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

Posted by tom | Jun 2, 2011

What a joy to see Eden's growth over the course of Kindergarten. Truly a testimony to the healing work of God. Below is video of her solo at the Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony, How do you like her new haircut and dress :)

BTW, Eden volunteered, stepped up to the microphone, and performed without trepidation.  To God be the glory!

Eden's Kindergarten Program Tonight

Posted by tom | Jun 2, 2011

What a joy for Eden to be graduating Kindergarten and going up 'on stage' as part of the closing program.

God brings healing. God enables parents, schools, school districts, and kids not only to learn, but to persevere. To God be the glory!

Pray for a good closure to the school year, a strong summer of growth (including the ability to go to some children's activities on her own), and the ability to step into First Grade in a new school building with confidence.

Eden threw away the cast and walked :-)

Posted by tom | May 12, 2011

On Wednesday Eden had a quick 1 hour visit in which she had her cast taken off. She 'cast off the cast,' i.e., she left the cast behind at PSU-Hershey. X-rays indicate that her fractured toes are healed. She's walking around and navigating school well, but her leg aches. We greatly appreciate your prayers, encouragements, and gifts. Continue to pray for 'good footing' for her next steps and for the aches to go away.

PS. Eden truly enjoys the "You can be a nurse" coloring book which she brought back. So much so that she doesn't want to share it with anyone. I wonder if this is a sign of another health care professional in the family ;-)

A Fractured Saturday

Posted by tom | Apr 19, 2011

"Sometimes you have nothing to say and other times you don't know where to begin. So I'll just say that Eden broke her foot yesterday (2 small fractures) when she stubbed her toe Sat. morning. Unfortunately it's her strong foot which makes hobbling around on her weak leg very difficult. That's making a long story short!" (Theresa).

Pray for

  • quick recovery and good attitude through the whole process.
  • discernment for 'next steps' -- This morning Eden received a foot brace which fits.  We have put out feelers for a walker.
  • strength for my wife Theresa as she deals with the 'red tape' and new set of appointments (some of which displace previous appointments).  Saturday was a particularly rough day, spent for the most part at PSU-Hershey Medical Center (10 - 6 pm).

God provides. God sustains. God guides. Thank-you to friends, family, & my supervisor who have helped us out on such short notice, your flexibility with time, energy, & care are a great blessing.

Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade

Posted by tom | Mar 29, 2011

After I returned from Chicago, Eden was a fan of a newly checked out book:

Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade. By Robin Pulver. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Penguin Books. 1992.

Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade.  Robin Pulver.  Illustrated by G. Brian Kraus.  Penguin Books.  1992.

The conclusion sums up the book beautifully:

Miss Gardner turned to Cassandra [2nd grader].  "I hope your mother will join our class again.  She doesn't have to pretend to be a plant."

"Thank-you, Miss Gardner," replied Cassandra.  "But nobody's mother is in second grade.  That would be ridiculous!"

But if you have K - 2 grade kids and haven't read Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade, I'd encourage you to do such.  It's lots of fun :-) 

PS.  After writing the initial post, I found out from Theresa that she finds the story, which she's had to read every day while I was in Chicago for InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Meetings, "dumb."  "Why would you read a book about that?"  Is this a difference between father and mother? 

In follow-up I asked Theresa whether should would still find the book "dumb" even if it was about a father dressing up like a plant. The answer was, "Yes." She thinks "the teacher and mom must be in cahoots for this to work."  Also, unlike what she reads by the author, Theresa finds the green plant facts secondary. Some of the science teacher background coming through?  Will I feel the same way after reading the book several times?

Question:  Do you remember better those things which make you laugh ;-)  How is "the ridiculous" accompanied by laughter an approach to teaching/learning?

The Sleeping Rose (Angela Elwell Hunt)

Posted by tom | Mar 24, 2011

As I mentioned the other day, Eden and I have been digging into book after book in our local congregation's library.  Although it was hard to top The Song of the King (Max Lucado. Illustrated by Toni Goffe. Crossway. 1995), we both found The Sleeping Rose (Angela Elwell Hunt. Illustrated by Chuck Gillies. Tommy Nelson. 1998), superb.

A simple story which highlighted "what is success?"  And when we offer help to the broken hearted, we offer it to none other than _____ .*

The Sleeping Rose. Angela Elwell Hunt. Illustrated by Chuck Gillies. Tommy Nelson. 1998.


The Song of the King (Max Lucado)

Posted by tom | Mar 21, 2011

Eden and I have been digging into book after book in our local congregation's library.  Recently we read The Song of the King (Max Lucado. Illustrated by Toni Goffe. Crossway. 1995).  What a story!  I think that I enjoyed the quest of the three knights for the hand of princess more than Eden :-)  Lucado provides an excellent exploration of the fears and flaws which accompany our strengths.  May each and everyone of us hear/follow the song of the Father/King, guided by ____ * in the face of "the Hopenots" which inhabit "the forests" through which we travel.

The Song of the King. Max Lucado. Illustrated by Toni Goffe. Crossway. 1995. (More)

Writing sentences

Posted by tom | Mar 5, 2011

"I like to play with Lily because she is so sweet and wonderful." -- Eden.

On Thursday, Eden shared with us that she wrote "a second grader sentence."  It didn't come home in her bag and she couldn't remember it :(

On Friday, Eden wanted to write sentences ("like they do at school") instead of taking a nap. I guess a half day isn't enough school :-)  She packed it in her bag to take to school.  Self-generated homework!

On Saturday, Eden ....

A Morning Prayer

Posted by tom | Mar 4, 2011

God be in my head

And in my thinking.

God be in my eyes

And in my seeing.

God be in my mouth

And in my speaking.

God be in my heart

And in my understanding.

At breakfast I prayed this prayer with Eden.  Still praying in my own life, particularly as I work on Emerging Scholars Network blog material in the midst of watching the younger two. One has chosen not to nap. It will be a long day as Theresa's running errands with the twins (who had a 1/2 day) until they're finished, i.e., sometime in the evening. I think I'll be picking up my InterVarsity work on Saturday morning. 

The Clown of God (Tomie dePaola)

Posted by tom | Feb 26, 2011

It's been awhile since I've read The Clown of God: an old story told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola.  But Eden loves the book and as such it comes to mind as book to recommend to young and old. Below is a section related to vocation which anticipates the beautiful end of the story.

"Our founder, Brother Francis, says that everything sings of the glory of God.  Why, even your juggling," said one of the brothers.

"That's well and good for men like you, but I only juggle to make people laugh and applaud," Giovanni said.

"It's the same thing," the brothers said.  "If you give happiness to people, you give glory to God as well."

"If you say so!"  said Giovanni, laughing.  But now I must be off to the next town.  Arrivederci, good brothers -- and good luck!

Eden's six years old!

Posted by tom | Feb 22, 2011

Can you believe it?  What a joy to celebrate Eden's birthday several times over the past several days and this morning to watch her make her way through the snow with Theresa to the 'special needs' bus.  To God be the glory!

Are you calling upon the Father for the impossible today?  If not, please join us in doing such.

My First Message: The Cross

Posted by tom | Feb 5, 2011

Eden and I are back in My First Message for our daily devotions. I was going to begin at creation, but she insisted on the cross. She is fascinated by the death and resurrection of our Lord & Savior Jesus.  Praise God!  May she truly embrace and be embraced by this reality.

With Sunday's sermon at our local congregation on "Jesus Washing the Disciples Feet" (John 13), I used that as an entry and picked up the story at "The Last Supper" (Matthew 26). We've moving along at a fairly good pace.

Our longest conversation has been regarding the Feast of Pentecost (defined in a sidebar as "A festival in Israel where people gave thanks to God for a successful grain harvest). As I gave the illustration of the importance of the flourishing of local crops in relationship to support of family and the blessing of food on the table, the concept clicked for her.* May each of us rejoice in God's gift of the coming harvest, provision for new year, and the opportunity to sacrifically share out of our plenty every step of the way.

*Comment:  No doubt one of the joys of being surrounded by fields and farms is the ease of children in connecting to "Biblical life, story, and parable" :-)  Keep in mind that as we visit campuses, towns and cities I remind my children of the coming of the "New Heavens and New Earth" ... "the City of God."

Good report from the Opthamology visit

Posted by tom | Jan 19, 2011

Last week, Eden visited the Ophtamologist.  The 2 hours a day with the eyepatch is great.  Result:  the eyesight in her 'bad' eye has now improved to 20/50. 

In addition, we've shifted from the Refresh Lacri-Lube Lubricant Eye Ointment to the Refresh Liquil at night.  It's more comfortable and appears to be working fine. I think a significant part of why it's "ok" is that Eden's nearly (if not at times) shutting her eyelid while sleeping at night. Note:  She's using googles for parts of aquatic therapy.

We rejoice in your prayers, encouragement, and standing with our family during this journey.  To God be the glory! 

Pool days back-to-back

Posted by tom | Jan 18, 2011

Eden's continuing to make great progress with acquatic therapy.  And the twins love to cheer her on pool side.

Due to the MLK Jr. Day holiday, one watched her yesterday.  Thanks to the snow cancellation today, both the twins made the support teamjourney. 

By the end of the month, Eden will move from acquatic to land-based physical therapy.

Eden Dives Back Into the Pool

Posted by tom | Dec 14, 2010

This afternoon, Eden's back to Schreiber Pediatric Rehab Center for acquatic therapy. She loves the time in the pool and seeing her instructors/therapists from the past several years.* What improvements she continues to make in getting around. Praise God!

Pray that Eden has the strength to stay engaged when the twins perform/play tonight in the Donegal Springs Elementary School's "Martian Christmas" Musical.

*Note:  Came across a promotional for indoor pool parties at Schreiber's.  It truly is "perfect for making a big splash during the cold winter months!" We did this when Eden turned five and had a great time.  Contact Lisa at 717-393-0425 for details.

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