When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom


My Family’s Cleft Journey

Children’s Hospital–The Best Place to Count Your Blessings

Well, we’re here, again. It’s been almost 8 years since Carson’s last cleft surgery, but 8 years is still not long enough. Those memories flood back on you, and you have to fight that punched-in-the-gut feeling.

After Carson’s first surgery, at 4 months old.

Psalm 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing…” kept running through my heart and mind, as they prepped Carson for today’s bone graft surgery.

He, of course was so excited to be watching a movie and had already exuberantly picked out the cherry flavor for his silly gas he would soon be breathing.

We walked into the room where he was supposed to get his silly gas, hold Mama’s hand and slowly and peacefully slip into his sleepy state, but that’s not exactly how it happened. The anesthesiologist waltzed in, gave Carson a fist bump and said, “Hey!! You like cool Science stuff!? I’ve got some awesome stuff to show you in the Operating Room! Want to see?!”

Carson said, “Yes!”, waved to us, said “bye,” and that was it. The operating door closed behind them and we were left staring at the door with the nurse.

Not quite what I had planned, but I should know by now that nothing goes according to my plans (thank goodness). God always has the better plan.

Be anxious for nothing…Carson had surly grasped that truth.

The faith of a child…I needed to grasp it, now.

We walked toward the cafeteria to grab a bagel, and that’s when my blessings list started to grow. We began to pass children who were swollen from chemo treatments, children in wheelchairs who would probably never walk again, children with tubes and wires and braces and crutches. As we passed them, I could envision my little petty problems dropping to the floor and being crunched by those kid-sized wheelchairs. No, Carson’s surgery was not just a petty problem, but I could praise the Lord that after only 5 hours we were headed home.

Getting ready to head back home.

I couldn’t have said it 8 years ago, but today I can truly say that I’m thankful we are “only” dealing with cleft lip issues.

So, this year on Thanksgiving, everything may not be perfect, but God is good and we are blessed. This year, that’s enough for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to read more about having joy while accepting your child’s cleft, or read about some ideas that were successful for us, when taking care of a child with a cleft lip and palate, click on the links below.

The story of Mr. Wiggles–having joy while accepting your child’s cleft

Be Cleft-Strong!

Table-Talk Tuesdays–Conversations with my Boys

I’ve always felt that the dinner table is a microcosm of the world–a place to give and receive ideas, to take criticism, to learn how to converse, to look in each other’s eyes and to also lend a listening ear.  I’m not saying we are always talking and taking the time we should at the table, but I cherish the moments when we can.

So, for Table-Talk Tuesday, I thought I’d share a bit of the crazy conversations that ensue around our house.  I could fill post after post with just Carson-isms, much less the crazy antics of my little Bam-Bam, Cole, but I’ll try to boil it down to just a couple, once a week.


The month of July is Cleft Lip Awareness Month, so I just had to share our latest cleft lip conversation with my son, Carson.  Last week, we were sitting around the dinner table and the topic of Carson’s cleft lip surgery came up.  Chad and I were telling him about his “No-Nos,” the arm braces he had to wear so that he couldn’t bend his arms and scratch or hurt his little healing lip and nose.

Carson: How did the doctors get my lip to stay together?

Me: They used stitches to join it together, and they actually used super glue on the outside.

Carson: For real?! They used real super glue?!

Me: Yep, amazing, huh?  (After the Lego movie, Carson is all about Krazy Glue…aka Kragle)

It was then that Chad, my husband, made a comment to me, and I turned away from Carson.  We were talking a few minutes when I noticed in my peripheral vision Carson doing something out of the ordinary.  He was gritting his teeth in determination while stretching his top lip with both hands.

Me: (It freaked me out! I yelled! ) Quit!  What in the world are you doing?!

Carson: (calm and matter-of-fact) Yep, that sure is SOME super glue, Mom.  Didn’t even budge.

Chad and I lost it.  We were cracking up.  I was half crying, half laughing, half feeling weak like a noodle, thinking about him doing anything to split his lip (that’s a little too many “halves” I guess, oh well).

Carson: Well Mom, I had to make sure.  It’s good.  No worries.

Sigh…I still feel weak when I think about him yanking on his lip, but really, I’m glad it’s such a “cool” idea to him.  I’m glad it’s common talk.  I’m glad it’s not a moot, hush-hush topic.  It shouldn’t be.  It’s who he is. That strong scar is a testament to the skilled surgeons who were gifted by the Lord to help our son, and Carson’s strength of character is a testament to the friends and family who were gifted by the Lord to love, support, and encourage him.  Thank you, thank you, Lord…

And that’s Table Talk, Tuesday.

What happened after the first sweet little picture.
What really happens at the table…

The story of Mr. Wiggles–having joy while accepting your child’s cleft

800px-Cleft_lip_adult_dogMr. Wiggles…

When we found out that Carson was going to be born with a cleft, we made a the decision that we were not going to hide it.  If we wanted people to accept him, then we needed to be completely open.  The helpful comments that many gave were always meant well, but didn’t always hit the intended mark of comforting us.  And so the story of Mr. Wiggles came to us …

While I was still carrying him, we talked about Carson’s cleft with our church family–answering questions and asking for their prayers.  I remember thinking I want to talk about this so much that it becomes common to me, so people won’t feel sorry for me anymore, and so I won’t cry anymore when I talk about it .  I chose to have joy.  Even though it was not always an easy decision, I know it was the right one.

A sincere and sweet lady walked up to me after church.  She was very serious when she said, “I’ve been praying about this, and really feel like the Lord would want me to tell you this.  I really think this will help you see that everything will be all right.”  She held my hand at this point and teared up.  “I have a dog named Wiggles that was born with a cleft lip. The vet fixed it, and you can’t even tell. Now, he’ll never be able to father puppies, but he is just fine.  I just wanted  to encourage you , honey.”

Now, I could have been offended and hurt, but I chose not to . I couldn’t help it; I laughed out loud!   My unborn child was being compared to a dog, that couldn’t have pups, but he’ll be okay?  What sort of response was I to give to this?  All I could think to say was, “Thank you?”

The story has now become a staple in our family history.  Even today, we have friends who call our son, “Mr. Wiggles,” although he doesn’t know the story or why they do so.  Maybe you think we’re nuts or twisted or crazy, but we chose to laugh instead of cry.  We chose joy.

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When the Write Door Opens -Matthew 7:7

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss

God's lessons to a writer, teacher, wife, and mom