Wednesday, December 26, 2007
On Sunday the 16th, a group from our speech and debate club went to Main Street Bethlehem in Burnet, which is about 45 minutes from our house. It was a charming and captivating reenactment of what Bethlehem might have been like on the night Jesus was born complete with tax collectors, a prison for those who couldn't pay their taxes, a synagogue with a priest, a bakery which passed out fresh bread, livestock including camels, a full inn, and of course the stable. As you can tell, Roman soldiers guard the city well.
Granny has been very busy these past two weeks, starting with Monday a week ago when she had a minor surgery to insert her feeding tube directly into her stomach rather than through her throat, so that she can learn to swallow and eat again. Granny's tracheostomy was taken out and the hole was closed the next day.
On Friday, she was moved out of Cornerstone Hospital and into a skilled nursing center in Round Rock called Hearthstone. This is so exciting for us because 1.) She's out of the hospital after being in one for 57 days, and 2.) It's a big step closer to her being able to come home. Although for a few days she was breathing completely on her own, she couldn't sustain that so currently she breathes with a nasal cannula.
Christmas was awesome with Pat IV being home, cooking Christmas dinner, packing all of the food in the car, and finally taking it to Granny's room to eat it there with her (though the doctor hasn't cleared her to eat food yet so she couldn't eat anything). It's hard to believe that there's less than a week left in 2007!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Almost everyday, she's moved from her bed to a wheelchair, and sits for about an hour. On Saturday, she was even wheeled down the ICU aisle and back. Unfortunately, she had a bit too big of a day, and on Sunday she had to be on the ventilator for most of the day because she was so tired. She still can't talk yet, but today she walked a little with the nurse!
During Nov. 30- Dec.1, we took our first out-of-town trip since the day Granny went to the hospital. We had hoped my dad would be able to join us, but because of Granny's set back that Thursday, my mom, Paul, and I headed for Lubbock on Friday morning for Paul's robotics competition. Hopefully, pictures and commentary will soon follow.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
This link may only be active for a couple more weeks, so if you try to listen to the broadcast and it's not available any more, perhaps you can ask Christina for it since Focus on the Family sent her a copy of that day's broadcast.
Celebrating 20 Years of "Adventures in Odyssey": Part 1
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
It teaches kids about faith, honesty, compassion, and courage. It provides countless hours of entertainment and makes long road trips enjoyable. We celebrate the 20th anniversary of Adventures in Odyssey, Focus on the Family's highly popular radio drama for kids that is equally loved by adults. Listeners share fun and touching stories about the life-changing impact "Odyssey" has had on their family.
"['Adventures in Odyssey'] really reinforced what my parents were teaching me and the importance of honoring them." - Rebecca, a 14-year-old listener
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This Thanksgiving was extra special. Why? Because, in a way unlike I've ever experienced before, I am thankful my grandma is breathing... loving... listening...caring... smiling... sleeping... ALIVE...
Monday, November 19, 2007
The extra fluid in her lungs caused by the pneumonia has been reduced SIGNIFICANTLY, but some fluid is still present at the very bottom of the lungs simply because of the congestive heart failure. This is really awesome! God is incredible.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
There is no way we can adequately express our gratefulness
to all of you for your love, concern, and prayer to God on
behalf of my mother, Virginia Hastings, over the past 15
At present she is still in the CCU (Coronary Care Unit, or
what is typically known at most hospitals as the Intensive
Care Unit) at the Heart Hospital of Austin. This week her
vital signs have been much more stable than last week,
particularly in comparison to the three days at the
beginning of last week when she was hovering on a thin
line between life and death.
Things are still quite serious as efforts to get her off
the respirator have not been successful so far. As best I
can tell, it appears that the doctors themselves may not
be entirely clear on what they think all of her underlying
health issues are, particularly with the heart and lungs,
though they are excellent physicians and have been trying
hard. The nursing care has been outstanding.
Mom does appear to be making gradual progress toward
getting off the respirator, but it has been a difficult
process. Because she had been on the breathing tube for 10
days, this morning (Friday) she underwent a brief
tracheostomy operation to switch to breathing through an
opening in the lower neck, which under the circumstances
is preferable to the breathing tube for several reasons.
We continue to seek your prayers, particularly for
improvement in her breathing ability. While quite weak,
when awake she is very alert to people and things going on
around her. Having been told of the outpouring of
expressions of concern and prayer for her has in itself
been a very encouraging thing to her. Obviously it has
been for the rest of our family as well.
We thank God for her improvement and we continue to trust
in Him for the outworking of whatever is His will in Mom's
life. And we thank God for all of you who have been such a
blessing as you have continued to uphold us in prayer.
"When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid."
--Psalm 56:3-4 ESV
Pat, for the Hastings family
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
1. She had a tracheostomy yesterday morning. It was a minor surgery to put the ventilator in her lower neck instead of going through her mouth. This reduces the distance, wouldn't hurt her vocal cords, allows her to close her mouth, and can be unattached easier. Hopefully, this will only be temporary until she can actually breathe on her own.
2. Now, a different lung doctor thinks that she has signs of Emphysema instead of Pulmonary Fibroses. Both of them are diseases smokers get which is strange because she's never smoked or been around smoking. There's quite a bit of difference between the two because with Pulmonary Fibroses, it's hard to take in enough air, but with Emphysema it's hard to exhale air back out. That would seem to explain why the blood gas test showed she wasn't getting rid of enough of those harmful gases like carbon dioxide.
Please pray for her strength and healing, the doctors wisdom, and for God's will to be done.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~1 Corinthians 12:9-10
Monday, November 05, 2007
Granny is still quite weak, but her pneumonia is better than yesterday, though she still has a lot of lung congestion being suctioned out. Today the medical staff is much more actively working to test her to see if she's ready yet to breathe on her own so they can take out the ventilator. The congestion from the pneumonia may prevent that happening today but it appears they're making some real progress in that direction now. Praise God!
I love Psalm 93:
The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed in majesty
and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established;
it cannot be moved.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.
Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O LORD.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
I tried making poetry for her on the spot which was pretty pathetic. Here's two examples:
"Roses are red
Violets are blue
You are so special
Just like me too"
"Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge cold,
You are so special
That I am told"
The reason it was so heart wrenching, was because of how... alive she seemed. Yet the doctor says that on the inside her organs (especially the lungs) are failing. It's so sad. But I know:
God is there to wipe off every tear.
God is there to love when I despair.
God is there to hold on to when I fall.
God is there to comfort every broken heart.
God is there always.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Tuesday, I met this other family (a humongous extended one) at the hospital with girls my age. The grandfather had a heart attack and now family from across the country are coming here. He has over 30 grandkids and great grandkids. And he's not even 65!
Wow, I 've realized that having a family member in ICU makes me see the true priorities in life more vivdly then I ever knew I could.
Sometimes it seems like everything is useless. But it's when the whole world seems dark that God shines most brightly. It's when life seems ugly that Christ is seen most beautifully.
"God's efforts are strongest when our efforts are most useless"
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."
The feeding tube is in! Praise God for an awesome answer to prayer.
They've found other problems though. The biggest is that she still has to be on the ventilator, and they aren't sure if her lung has collapsed/will collapse so the nurses are doing tests.
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." -Deuteronomy 31:8
Monday, October 29, 2007
Please pray for my 84 year old grandmother, Virginia Hastings. Here's the story as best I know:
For the past couple of weeks her feet and legs have been swelling. Since then she's been going to the doctor often, and has been wearing knee highs and has kept her legs elevated much of the time at home. The heart specialist said she has congestive heart failure.
Last Tues., she went to the doctor, and nothing seemed different. Then on Thursday evening she took a shower, and just happened to decide to weigh herself on the bathroom scales. Normally she weighs 95-100 pounds, but on Thurs. she weighed 120 pounds! And all of the extra stuff was in her legs and feet. My dad immediately took her to the Austin Heart Hospital that night (about an hour from our house and Granny lives right across the street from us). After doing tests they realized that her oxygen was extremely low. People are supposed to have an oxygen level at 92 or above. When she entered the hospital, she was at 57.
She was immediately hooked up to oxygen. Her blood was also very thin so they gave her blood products. It has the same danger that a blood transfusion does (such as transferring diseases like AID's) though nothing is too likely. The doctor did a cat scan, and found out that she has fluid in her lungs, partially collapsing them. That was the biggest danger because she could get pneumonia, and at her age...
On Sunday, the doctor said she wasn't receiving enough oxygen, so they moved her to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where they put a sealed face mask on her so she would receive more oxygen. Also, they gave her a bunch of laxatives so she would lose more fluid. At one point, she was losing fluid at a rate of 1 quart every 2 hours. Since then they've significantly slowed it down because she needs it to be more gradual.
Then this morning, the oxygen in her blood still was not increasing so they put her on a ventilator.
As far as the rest of the family, all I can say is that his promise stands true, "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."~Phil. 4:19
One of my parents has to stay with her 24 hours a day, so please pray for them (and especially my dad) as they're under a lot of stress, worry, and just complete exhaustion because of the lack of sleep. Pat IV drove to Austin yesterday evening. Seeing the willingness of friends to help in whatever way needed makes me feel awestruck and extremely grateful.
At church yesterday, a friend of mine gave me a note with a verse on it. I know that it was a God send because I got it right when I needed it:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Sunday, August 12, 2007
So I live in Houston and find out what my sister and family are doing by reading this blog, just like you probably do. But for the moment I suddenly (and secretly) have access and think the only reasonable thing to do is to make a post.
So here's a link to a really interesting article you should read and think about.
And here's another picture of me:
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Honestly, the conference wasn't quite as I expected it to be--it was even better! Over 800 Rebelutionaries and parents gathered together to be taught, equipped, and inspired to "rebel" against our culture's low expectations for teenagers by doing hard things. The following are my notes from the first two of the four sessions:
Alex Harris: "The Myth of Adolescence"
- The elephant is just tied by a piece of rope from which it could easily break free, but it has shackles on its mind.
- Our culture expects teenagers to be rebellious, irresponsible, emotionally unstable, etc... but it's a myth that things must be that way!
- George, Dave, and Drew all took on high levels of responsibility at young ages in times past.
- Quote from Challenge of Youth by Friedrich Heer.
- Prior to this century there were only two stages of life--childhood and adulthood
- The word "teenager" did not exist until a popular magazine used it in 1941.
- "...the goal of the child was to grow up as promptly as possible in order to enjoy the opportunities of an adult..." --from a book describing the 18th and 19th centuries.
- "The current ceiling of expectation for young adults is where the floor ought to be".
- 1 Cor. 13:11; 1 Tim 4:12; Lam. 12:3
- Whose expectations are you using in how you spend these years? God's or the world's?
- George, Dave, and Drew went on to be George Washington (1st President of the United States), David Farragut (admiral in the US Navy), and Andrew Carnegie (one of the most successful businessmen of his day).
- You have to view the teen years as a launching pad whether you want to or not, because you are launching in some direction. The question is, "What direction are you going?"
- The applicability of the old adage, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
- Break the shackles.
Brett Harris, "Do Hard Things"
- God doesn't call us to do everything, but He definitely hasn't called us to be afraid of doing hard things.
- Don't be like Moses who was afraid when God called him to do a hard thing.
- How do we grow stronger? By doing hard things and building "muscle".
- Example: Getting angry is wrong and easy; controlling your temper is right and hard.
- Example: Being proud is wrong and easy; staying humble is right and hard.
- If you're facing discouragement because something you find very hard is very easy for someone who is naturally gifted in that area (example: math), the "Do Hard Things" mindset will give you an edge over the person who is naturally talented because he will stop at the end of how far he's naturally talented, but you can go beyond that.
- It's about building muscle--mental, physical, spiritual...
- Do what's hard for YOU, not someone else.
- A failure to perform in character or competence is due to a failure of past exertion.
- Even failure produces muscle.
- Our unique makeup allows for beautiful diversity.
- Small things aren't usually seen by others.
- Don't think that you always have to do an extraordinary thing; but instead do normal things extraordinarily.
- It's a call to the sold out Christian life.
1. "Do Hard Things" means fighting sin in your life
2. "Do Hard Things" means battling discouragement and complacency
3. "Do Hard Things" means doing more than is required
4. "Do Hard Things" means getting over your fear of failure
5. "Do Hard Things" looks different for every person
6. "Do Hard Things" is often small things
7. "Do Hard Things" is your best life
Conversing with fellow Rebelutionaries, the Beilmans and Rileys, during a break after the session "Character Counts".
Me, Paul, Jeremy, and Ben. Paul and I had met Jeremy last year at Awana Camp, and Ben came with us to the conference.
Mr. Nasser and Pat IV.
Anti-Feminists Hannah (we stayed at her house for the weekend), me, and Sarah. Attention all young ladies! If you want to find a godly web site with posts filled with encouragement and insights for girls then check out Hannah's blog Beauty from the Heart which she co-authors with two other young ladies. The web site is also on the sidebar of this page under "Links".
Joel Harris (the twins' older brother who was the worship leader), Brett Harris, Paul, and Alex Harris. I am amazed at the work the Harris family is accomplishing, and I was sorry when we had to leave. But the good news is that they're coming back to D/FW next year! Who knows, maybe I'll see you there!
And if you live within range, there's still another conference on this year's Rebelution Tour, Indianapolis on September 15, 2007. Don't miss it.
Update: A friend sent me this picture:
Marshall (the head coordinator) , Brett Harris, me, and Alex Harris
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Taking off at a park close to our home.
A short detour to stop by our swimming platform.
Cruisin' over the middle of the lake. Take a look at the clouds. That is what we call, "The perfect weather". No blazing sun beating down on us (but our legs were still toasted by the sun rays coming through the clouds), not much wind, wonderful temperature, and although it threatened there was No Rain!
My dad was taking pictures from his seat behind me in the kayak.
The boys pause to talk while waiting for the slow pokes (us) to catch up.
The a-little-over-halfway point was marked by Starns Island, which is owned by the LCRA which means that anybody is allowed on it.
Exploring the island.
My kayaking partner preparing to embark from Starns Island.
Bringing the kayaks back after a fantastic ride.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
“Let no one look down upon your youth, but be an example to all the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, in purity.” --1 Timothy 4:12
In two weeks I’m headed off to attend the Rebelution Conference in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. So I thought that I’d write about why I personally am going.
All of the kids I grew up with from birth to the beginning of middle school are teenagers now. Unlike when we were little kids playing together, much of what I see now is rebellion, rebellion, and more rebellion in their attitudes. Sadly, that’s all too often true even in the “Christian” ones. But, hey, that’s just normal…right?
Looking at the situation closer reveals the fact that the culture expects teenagers to be rebellious. For example, two days before my 13th birthday I was at the dentist’s office. After looking at my files he shook his head and said, “Uh, oh. It looks like you’re about to enter the ‘Terrible Teens’.” What’s sobering is the fact that I could so easily live up (or is that “live down”?) to his expectations. But by the grace of God I don't want to follow that path.
As I consider the alternative to the low expectations our world has for young people, I look at fellow Rebelutionaries who are doing hard things and refusing to be defined by the world...and are turning the culture’s view of teenagers upside down. That’s what I yearn to do so I’m going to the Rebelution Conference because I believe it will:
- Teach how to adopt the mindset behind it all
- Equip us to effectively “Do Hard Things”
- Connect like-minded Rebelutionaries
- Inspire teens to change our generation
All of us who are attending would love to see you there! Check out the Rebelution website at www.therebelution.com and be sure to look at their award winning blog as well as their excellent resources.
Monday, July 02, 2007
The power of water continually amazes me. Yesterday after church my family drove to Mansfield Dam which holds in the flooding Lake Travis.
Out of the four open flood gates came monstrous gushes of water. Forcefully and speedily, it shot through the gates and descended into the churning waters of Lake Austin below. Then for some reason, it seemed as if the speed of the spray bouncing upward slowed down. In reality I'm sure it wasn't, but with that appearance it seemed as if the spray was turned into slow motion as it gracefully floated through the air only to again be tumulted into the rushing torrent.
The majesty and power of it all was breathtaking to see. Of course it wasn't nearly as spectacular as many waterfalls, but to think that it was on our very own Lake Travis was what made it so special.
The lake is flooding over with water. My question is, are we flooding over with Jesus? Can our lives come to the point where we are no longer getting to know Jesus and his love, faithfulness, mercy, peace, etc--but we are actually filling up on them to the point of overflowing? Flooding over. Can you just imagine that? No wrong motives, but simply a natural response to experiencing Jesus. "The majesty and power of it all would be breathtaking to see."
You can hoard everything you take in from your relationship with Jesus inside of you, but what if you had the courage to spill it out onto others? Opening the floodgates for others to then flood. How different could the world be if everyone was bubbling over with Jesus? Sure, you may not get results as spectacular as Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon or Jonathon Edwards did, but to think that God can use you to make a difference is what makes it so special.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Debra during Role Playing (practicing what we were going to say when we lobbied later in the day).
Rattlesnakes in the outdoor rotunda of the Capitol annex.
"Ain't she a beaut'! "
The fangs. Yes, the REAL fangs.
It's not every day you get a picture with a rattlesnake in the Capitol.
One of the staff whom we lobbied.
With Mr. Lambert afterwards.
With friend and representative from San Antonio, Nathan Macias
April - We have no pictures from April because Paul had the camera while visiting Sequim, Washington.
This time there was no homeschooling bill that THSC thought needed lobbying so we delivered cookies instead.
"Would you like some cookies?"
Grace and I in the underground Capitol annex. Our families had been put together on a team.
On the Capitol steps.
Two men conversing about important issues.
Two ladies smiling about a job well done.
Friday, June 01, 2007
The extent of God's peace is incomprehensible.
The majesty of God is indescribable.
God's holiness is unutterable.
God is ineffable.
Ineffable: Incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Wow! Four years... so many things have changed. All three of us kids have grown so much during the past four years:
Me: 9 inches
Paul: 7 inches
Pat IV: from boy to man (not to mention the muscle)
Paul and I: In October 2004 we had a massive change in who we spent time with because we changed churches and joined our speech and debate club.
Pat 4: College brought a whole new group of friendships from Bible study, church, Campus Crusade, classes, cross-country, Right-to-Life, Rice Republicans, etc...
Four years of studying, listening, reading, studying some more, applying, asking, researching, probing, investigating, observing, experimenting, etc...all to learn more about the world which God so marvelously created.
Where could I possibly begin? As each one of us goes through new trials and struggles, we stand firm upon the promise that "we are more than conquers through Him that loves us." We fight the battles knowing that Christ has already won the war. He has the ultimate victory and will pick us up every time we fall down. Personally, over the past four years God has shown me how important and how hard walking in obedience is, how sovereign my Creator is, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, what true service is like, what a wonderful church I have, how much of a failure I am, and how forgiving and loving He is. I want to thirst after His presence and be filled by His goodness. To overflow with His love and outpour it onto a dying world. To have a relationship with a Friend who is "closer than a brother" not just for the next four years...but for all of eternity.
A different church, different friends, different priorities, different activities, different attitudes, a different perspective on life...but the same God. He stays the same no matter what. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb 13:8)
Monday, April 09, 2007
My mom on the capitol steps. Behind her is a statue dedicated to those who died during the Civil War and the large building is the city hall.
Outside the Chocolate Factory with an "enlargened" customer.
Denver's main river.
On a hill in Common Park. It seemed so happy there. Kites flying, a young mother tossing a frisbee to her toddler, a young couple playing with their dog, so many kids taking walks with their cute doggies...
Eating out with the Grace Covenant team.
Josh, Paul, and Corey.
Playing an arrangement of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" with "How Great Thou Art."
In the lobby of the Adams Mark Hotel.
I think they had a bad hair day.
The mile-high marker on the Colorado capitol steps.
Paul with his family after receiving his Citation award. That's the highest award in Awana and it means that he's completed ten Awana books since third grade.
The five Citation recipients from Grace Covenant. In total there were over 250 Citation recipients from around the nation.
Presenting the gospel message.
Paul and Josh Boudin.
The entire Grace Covenant team.
With Mr. Rorheim, the founder of AWANA.
I have no idea who the two girls on the ends or the man who is kneeling are, but the other man is Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share ministries who was the speaker at the closing ceremony.
Paul and Kevin White, the speaker at the opening ceremony.
With Brian Rhodes, an AWANA missionary.
With Danny Oertli, the worship leader.
An extra day of sight-seeing:
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Fascinating to say the least.
Focus on the Family. I'm standing outside of the Imagination Station a.k.a. the elevator to the part of the building dedicated to Adventures in Odyssey.
Garden of the Gods. "The Three Graces"--one of the many unique and exquisite rock formations in the park.
Pike's Peak--God is a such a wonderful Creator and His mountains are marvelous... but not nearly as marvelous as Him.