Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

11 Million Minutes

Photo Credit:  vilhelm from
How long would I hope and pray for a miracle?  How many nights would I plead to the Lord before wanting to give up?  How long would I wait for a fervent prayer to be answered?  A day?  A week?  A month?  A year?  21 years?  Let me break it down a little more.  If my math is right, twenty-one years is 7,665 days or 183,960 hours, or 11,037,600 minutes, and I’m wondering if I could possibly wait that long for a miracle?  Hmmmm…not too sure.

However, I do know a special couple who did wait 21 years for one.  AND, their wait was coupled with the fact that doctors told them there was a less than one percent chance that it would ever happen.

Insert faith.  Insert hope.  Insert lots of prayer (and waiting) and all the statistics are washed away.  Against all odds, my friends, Karen and Joe, are expecting their very first baby this Christmas, after 21 long years of waiting.  What a miracle.  What a gift.  I am inspired by their faith in our Lord.

I can’t wait to watch them journey through parenthood - with its countless joys, unimaginable love, and all the little challenges along the way that make life with children so interesting and adventuresome.  Whee!

I marvel at God’s handiwork in our day-to-day lives.  When we least expect it, He shows up.  He is found in someone’s words, someone’s story, a hug, an unexpected note, an inspiring quote, or a miracle two people have longed for.  Medically speaking, my friends were given a whopping 99.5% chance that they would never conceive.  Fortunately, God has no limitations.

When I pondered on just how long 21 years is to wait, I ran across a story that makes me think about time:

“Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.  It carries over no balance from day to day.  Whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day is deleted every evening.  What would you do?  Draw out every cent, of course!

Each of us has such a bank and its name is TIME.  Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.  Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever part of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.  It carries over no balance.  It allows no overdraft.

Each day it opens a new account for you.  Each night it burns the remains of the day.  If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.  There is no going back.  There is no drawing against 'tomorrow.'  You must live in the present on today’s deposits."  Invest wisely, with all that truly matters.

To realize the value of twenty-one years,
Ask Karen and Joe.
To realize the value of four years,
Ask a graduate.
To realize the value of one year,
Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of one month,
Ask the parent of a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week,
Ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one day,
Ask a daily wage laborer who has a large family to feed.
To realize the value of one hour,
Ask a family waiting at the airport for the arrival of their soldier.
To realize the value of one minute,
Ask a person who has missed a train, bus, or plane.
To realize the value of one second,
Ask a person who survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond,
Ask the person who won the silver medal at the Olympics.
~ Anonymous ~ (and slightly modified by yours truly)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always value the precious gift of time.  As I ponder the shoulda, coulda, wouldas and spend useless time worrying about the future, I miss the precious present moment.  I try to be conscious of what a waste it is to live in the past or the future, but I still have a long way to go.

However, I do know that the Lord asks us to wait (maybe even 21 years!) and invites us to listen for His Will in our lives.  While we endure the cross of waiting, He also commands us not to fear.  He is a wall of protection around us.  He will shield us from the storm.  If God has our back, why in the world shouldn’t we be able to go forward fearlessly?  Why do we always ponder our Red Sea that lies ahead?  With faith, He will part the waters.

The Lord longs to work miracles in our lives, but sometimes we don’t allow those miracles to happen because of our great unbelief (Matthew 13:58).

Please join me in remembering that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE with God.  A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.  Yes, even with less than one percent of a chance, God is still in charge.  AND, if I have to wait 11 million minutes for a miracle, I have learned from Karen and Joe that it is INDEED possible.  Thank you for that inspiration my sweet friends.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Angels in Scrubs

Photo Credit:  imelenchon from
Has anyone out there fallen off a bar stool?  Surely back in the day, someone had one too many late one night and misjudged the location of the chair to place their derrière?  Maybe?  Maybe not?  If it sounds familiar, the night might have ended with a few good laughs and a sore buttocks.  If it doesn’t, you’ve witnessed such a thing at the very least.  My bar stool story, on the other hand, is a very different and much scarier one.

Last week, my almost-4-year-old-daughter climbed up on a bar stool to enjoy supper with her brother, sister, and cousin at Nanny and Popo’s.  My husband and I were doing the waiter-waitress-dance trying to get everyone what they needed.  Of course, the kids are always done eating before we even finish making our plates.  So, in true form, they had all licked their plates clean.  That’s when it happened.

One second, we looked up and saw all four kiddos sitting there.  The next second, we looked up and someone was missing.  My little one had fallen backwards off the bar stool and hit her head on the floor.  Oh, she cried and cried.  (I wanted to cry too, but I had to maintain some semblance of composure for her sake.)  I tried to soothe her.  Daddy tried to soothe her.  We finally talked her into feeding the dogs some treats outside.  We also coaxed her with some candy.  Yep, we did.

She kept saying how tired she was and that her head hurt.  We tried to rationalize everything.  On the tired meter of 1 to 10, she was definitely a 20 because of the days leading up to this incident.  We had spent some fun time out of town with cousins and stayed up past midnight a couple of nights in a row, plus no naps.  She even fell asleep on the way to Nanny and Popo’s that evening.  So, the recipe for fatigue was certainly there.  So, of course she was tired (we kept telling ourselves).

BUT!  It became harder and harder to rationalize as the evening went on.  Thirty minutes after the fall, she kept complaining of her head hurting and that she just wanted to sleep.  (Of course, we rationalized, she just cried buckets and she’s tired.)  Then, the situation became complicated.  She threw up.  I knew then that we were maybe dealing with something more serious.  (We tried not to overreact, but it was becoming nearly impossible for me not to.  We thought – well, maybe she threw up because she just ate hungry-man-sized portions and then cried her heart out.)  However, my mommy radar went up and I knew it was Emergency Room time.  We had to rule some things out – the first being a concussion.

With my heart racing at 200 beats per second (it’s possible), my husband and I left the older two at Nanny and Popo’s and we quickly headed to the ER with our daughter.  I drove and my husband sat in the back seat by our youngest, trying to keep her awake.  By this time, she was almost impossible to awaken (was it because of her extreme fatigue or the fall?).  Oh, how I prayed.

The 30-minute trip to town seemed to take FOREVER!  It felt like DAYS and DAYS!  Of course, that’s when there was a hiccup in our trip.  I heard a loud siren and saw flashing lights.  (Oh my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding me?!)  I pulled over like a law-abiding citizen, although I really didn’t feel like I had the time to.  The officer approached my car cautiously.  He asked if I had been drinking and if there was a reason for my haste.   Luckily I answered in the right order…I said, “No and Yes.”  Can you imagine if I had answered, “Yes and No?”  Oh mercy!!  Anyhow, he graciously let me go after I explained the situation.  He told me to drive with my hazard lights on and to be careful.

We finally arrived at the ER (felt like a month had passed!) and she threw up again…all over my husband.  Of course, he didn’t care.  We were so afraid that something was terribly wrong with our sweet child.  Priorities change when you fear for your child’s life.  Wearing vomit is completely fine.  We hurried to check-in.  The ER nurse was a God-send.  He calmly said, “I’ll take her.  You can take the bucket (of puke).”  It did put just a teeny-tiny, much needed smile on my face.

The nurse was so kind.  He was composed.  He knew what he was doing.  He took care of my baby girl.  I tried to answer all of his questions as calmly and rationally as I could.  He had no idea that I was a complete and utter disaster on the inside and that I quite possibly might stroke out at any moment.  I guess ER nurses and docs don’t freak out about anything.  And, I thank God for that.

Our daughter was quickly seen by a Physician’s Assistant who was also calm, cool, and collected.  She examined our sleeping sweetheart as I explained all of the variables as to why else (besides a concussion) she might have thrown up and be presenting so lethargic.  She listened intently.  She looked me straight in the eyes when she spoke.  She made me feel at peace.  I knew she would take care of her.

She basically gave us two options.  She said we could, considering the circumstances I had explained, observe her for awhile longer.  Or, we could do a CT scan and rule out a brain bleed.  (Oh mercy!  A brain bleed?!)  But then she explained some of the risks of a CT scan on such a small child.  She said it is a high dose of radiation for such a little one and that the radiation would stay with her her whole life.  I worried about the link between radiation and cancer down the road.  But, the PA felt that one CT scan probably wouldn’t cause any major problems.  She said that our daughter’s lethargy and vomiting were unsettling and couldn’t be dismissed.

No one tells you when you have a baby that you will be making all kinds of major decisions for them for much of their young life.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  And no one can possibly explain the feeling of having your heart walk around outside of your body.  No one.

It might be an obvious decision for you.  But, for us, the decision of CT scan vs. no CT scan seemed impossible at the time.  So many emotions.  Here, we had a daughter who appeared to be sleeping, but might be going into a coma instead.  And, we weren’t sure about the huge dose of radiation that may or may not cause cancer in the long run.  I mean, this was not a do-you-want-fries-with-that-decision for us.  The PA was unbelievably patient as we discussed our options back and forth.  I asked her for a moment alone.  I prayed, “Dear Lord, if you can, please just give us an obvious sign of what to do here.  We need you.  Help us make this decision.”

Ask and you shall receive.  At just that moment, the nurse who admitted us came by our room to check on us.  I told him we were trying to decide about the CT scan.  He said, “You should do it.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.  You’ll feel better knowing if anything is wrong.”  Then, he walked away.

Angels in scrubs.  That’s who was with us that night in the ER.  I have no doubt.  We had our answer.

We went ahead with the CT scan.  We prayed.  My family prayed.  We waited.  We prayed some more.  We waited.  We finally got word that her scan was negative.  No bleed.  No swelling.  Praise the Lord!  I said prayers of thanksgiving.  We were so relieved.  I thanked God for taking care of our daughter.  I also prayed for parents who didn’t get negative results after their child’s scan that night.  I prayed that the Lord continue to send angels in scrubs to all worried moms and dads who sit in waiting rooms, hospitals, and ERs.

I’m blessed to report that our daughter is back to her silly, spicy, sweet, and adorable self.  However, I desperately want to put all of my children in helmets, shoulder pads, knee pads, shin guards, mouth guards, and elbow pads and wrap them in rolls of toilet paper.  I wish I could always protect them from all harm.  I’m feeling a little overly protective this week.  Can ya blame me?  

I do have some food for thought after all of this.  Do we protect our souls with the same fervor?  Our bodies will only last this lifetime.  Am I protecting my soul, my children’s soul, my husband’s soul enough?  How much care do we actually give to our souls?  Hmmmm…

To make a long story short (ha ha – too late!), I don’t think any of us will ever sit on a bar stool again.  But, I am glad that all is well in the Kallus household.  I’m thankful for my healthy children.  I’m thankful for…angels in scrubs.  

No Sips next week.  Be sure to spread some sunshine in your own corner of the world!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where Apples Fall

Photo Credit:  messa from
Summer is here.  It’s time for vacations, family, swimming pools, friends, making memories, and 100-plus temps if you’re in south Texas.  It’s also that time of year when three little kiddos who I know very well will be together pretty much 24-7 until school starts up again in the Fall.

I got a tiny taste of having all three at home on Memorial Day.  Of course, each of them woke up before the crack of dawn.  As early as it was, all seemed well until they couldn’t come to a consensus as to which cartoon they’d watch on our only TV.  Then, another tiff broke out as they argued about who was going to sit where.  Then one of them crossed the imaginary boundary line and invaded sibling territory.  Finally, someone took someone’s something and the whining and crying commenced.

I was attempting to get a few more minutes of shut-eye during all of this.  Not happenin’.  I marched into the living room and announced, “Alright peeps!  This is going to be a VERY LONG summer if this is the way it’s going to be.  Make good choices and you will enjoy your summer.  Make bad choices and you’ll spend your summer sitting in a corner staring at the wall.   We all need to dig down a little deeper in order to be patient with each other and get along.  We’re going to spend a lot of time together over the next three months.  If you need some space, go read a book in another room.  If you’re frustrated, count to ten.  If you need inspiration, say a prayer.  I’m going back to bed now and I’m going to meditate on the back of my eyelids.”

I was a sleepy girl.  Our whole family was a little tired after a fun Memorial Day weekend.  I guess my short speech got their attention, however, because I managed to mosey back to bed for a few minutes.  It was quiet.  There was peace in the casa.  I was content.  Ahhhhh.

I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew I had three little angels walking into my bedroom with breakfast and a homemade card.  (Am I dreaming?  Is this heaven?)  It sank in.  My words REALLY sank in.  A tear made its way down my cheek.  My breakfast-in-bed was delightful.  I didn’t care if the fruit was washed or not.  They could have brought me cardboard with syrup on it and it would’ve been perfect.  Their card melted my heart.  It said, “We love you Mommy so very much.  We are sorry for fighting.”  (Sniff, sniff - we might survive this summer after allhee hee!)

A fresh start.  We all just needed a new beginning that Monday.  I also realize that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  I recall writing similar “I’m sorry” notes with my brother during our childhood.  And, boy, did my brother and I get into it!  I chased that boy all over the house, slammin’ doors, and getting into trouble.  “He’s looking at me funny!”  “She’s in my room!”  “He took my stuff!”  “She pushed me!”  (Poor Mom and Dad…sigh.)

Not far from the tree – THAT’S where apples fall.

Last Thursday, we wrapped up another school year.  And, crazy enough, my kids were “playing school” not even one week later.  We really do crave routine, don’t we?  My six-year-old made a list of rules for her school:  (1) Do not say bad words.  (2) Do not play without permission.  (3) Do not say fart.  (4) Raise your hand to speak.  (5) Be nice to the teacher.  (Simple enough…)  I can recall “playing school” with my favorite bro quite often as well.  He wasn’t so fond of it, but he amused me every now and then by finishing a worksheet I’d made for him.  (Love you, Aaron!)

Before our summer gets into full swing, I took some time today to reminisce about our school year.  Every day when I picked up the kiddos from school, I would ask, “What did you learn today?”  I always enjoyed hearing what they had to say.

Through one of Aunt Irene’s inspirational e-mails, I was reminded of things I’ve learned myself (or desperately need to) through a few of Andy Rooney’s words:

I've learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned that when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned that just one person saying to me, “You've made my day!” really makes my day.
I've learned that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned that being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned that you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned that I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned that we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned that money doesn't buy class.
I've learned that it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned that under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them.
I've learned that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I’ve learned that the Lord didn’t do it all in one day.  What makes me think I can?

After a wonderful weekend out of town, enjoying some carefree timelessness with family, I thought of something to share.  We hung out by my sister and brother-in-law’s pool and enjoyed some sunshine and laughter.  The water was ch-ch-chilly to say the least.  After some good rains there, the cold pool water could make a grown man squeal (I’m not saying any names, PoPo). 

Of course, the kids didn’t care.  They just jumped in, let out a shivery screech, and went about their merry way.  I opted for the slow and steady approach.  I inched down the pool ladder slower than a sloth.  It took me thirty minutes to get waist-deep.  But, after an hour, I was in.  All.  The.  Way.  And, while the water took some getting used to, it ended up being so wonderful once I was in.

And, so, just like my pool experience, this first week of summer may be tough at first while the kids get used to being together 24-7.  However, I’m sure it will be amazing once we find our summer groove and the shock factor wears off. 

Until then, I will remember that apples don’t fall far from the tree.  I fought terribly with my brother as a wee one.  (FYI – I love him to pieces today!)  And, I’m sure my parents didn’t always get along with their siblings growing up.  But, as long as we plant seeds of character, faith, perseverance, love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness, I think the apples that fall will turn out okay after all.

Happy Summer to all my little Sunshines!