Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New News Brings Change to GoFundMe

Initially hospital financial people told us that Chadd would not qualify for medical assistance for the first thirty days of his care.  That was daunting.
Then we were told that perhaps some of it would be covered.
Most recently they told us that they expect most of it to be covered.
We are praying that this will be the case.
Final word should come as soon as they can review necessary paperwork that is being gathered.

We are not interested in raising money that we don't know will be needed and so 
Chelsea has posted an update on the GoFundMe page reducing the need to $5,000.
For those who have given we cannot express our thanks enough.
Rest assured that those gifts will go to their intended purpose, 
the care and well being of Chadd.

Coming up for Chelsea and Chadd will be counseling to deal with the trauma, 

We don't know when Chadd will be able to return to work.

We don't know what of Chadd's computer and other items survived the crash.
Doubtful on most of that.

We just wanted to be clear and up front with everyone on this subject.
And to share our praises that things are looking so much better at the moment.

Chadd continues to get stronger each day.
He has a very long way to go but is surpassing anyone's expectations.
Please continue to pray that the infection would completely clear and not
cause long term issues for him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping Up Hope

With so many things being uncertain in the next weeks and months the kids are struggling to know how to plan.  Whether it is right to continue working toward the wedding in May or to hold tight and wait and see.  We are encouraging them to continue in their plans.  If things have to change then we can all deal with it then.

Thankfully, the Monday before the accident they had gone out with their friend Faith and had the first in a series of Engagement Photos taken.

I pointed out to them that when they go to finish these photos it will be interesting to see the growth in them as individuals but also as a couple.
Seeing him in his hospital bed and her leaning over him as they looked at these together was bittersweet.
But they are strong and getting stronger every day.

An update on Chadd:  He was to go home yesterday but a complication with one of his incisions kept him in overnight on IV antibiotics.  He is very much wishing to get home today but is understanding that this could be serious and he doesn't want to have to come back after getting home.

Otherwise he had a pretty good day in that he stayed awake all day for the first time.
I hope this translated into a good night's sleep.
That has been the hardest for him.
So hard to get good sleep there.

We cannot thank you enough for your continued caring and prayers.
We'll take every one!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Some Sunshine after A Week of Storm Clouds

Chelsea worked again yesterday.  Her manager has been so wonderful in allowing her to come in as she can handle it.  If you have ever worked in retail you know that facing crowds of people can really take it out of you....even if you totally love your work.  When one is as stressed and tired as Chelsea there is a limit to your tolerance.  Even so, she has done well on the two days back so far.  Then she is so very eager to get back to Chadd.

Friday was his hardest day.  Not his most sick day.....but the one that impacted him the most.  He was taken off the heavy medications that masked much of the pain.  Ouch!!  He was so miserable.  And he was trying so hard to keep Chelsea from seeing his pain which only made it worse for him.  Crazy guy. Trying to protect his sweetheart.

We weren't sure what we would walk into yesterday as we got there a little after 4pm.  Well, we got a clear eyed, adoring Chadd.  Still in pain but through the worst of the withdrawal a week's worth of strong meds deliver.  He was so delighted to see Chelsea and she him.  Xavier and I left them alone to chat.  This was the first time since we got the shocking news they could really communicate with each other.  Awesome thing number one!

After a while Chelsea sought us out to say it was dinner time.  Chadd was eating real food and so should we.  And so we headed to the hospital cafeteria.  I was so hoping for one of two meal options. Either the taco salad or Dry Rub Ribs.  Either had been my favorite from the week.  Others....seriously not so much!  My face lit up when I saw the taco shell bowls!!  I couldn't believe it.  Things must be looking up, right?  That was awesome thing number two.

Then....I went to get cups of water for Chelsea and I and saw Matt.  Matt is the hospital food host who took such amazing care of Chelsea in the Intensive Care.  He was on the phone and so I waited for him to finish up so I could thank him for his special attention to her.  He was so happy to hear that Chelsea was with me and headed out into the dining room to find her.  He reminded her once again that he had helped her out and was so happy for the ability to have done so.!  Never underestimate the power of those kind gestures.  They can make all of the difference to a family who is in pain.  Awesome thing number three.

We returned to Chadd but his pain was building again.  Poor guy.  Tummy surgeries are the worst.  I've been there.  Ten days in the hospital for a post op infection that nearly killed me.  I remember some but I was mostly under the effects of morphine then.  Chadd is basically on Tylenol.  Horrible.  I talked him into ringing for the nurse who was able to give him something more and get him settled in for the night.  And then we left.  I haven't heard yet how his night went.  Hoping he did ok.

This morning he is scheduled to go to Physical Therapy to be evaluated to see if he is ready to go home.  Can you believe it??  Waiting for that word.  Honestly, if they kept him another day I would be happy.  He would not.  He is young, strong and ready to get out of that hospital bed.  We'll see!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Late Night Pizza With My Kids

Yesterday was hard in that, while Chadd is physically improving, he is also being weaned off the big guys of the pain meds.  Whew!  You try having the kind of injuries he has and have to find new doses of weaker prescriptions to work even as you are getting more mobile, etc.
Not fun.

Chelsea and I were out when his mom called to just kind of give us the story for the day.  She said that he could have milkshakes and other things like that now which really excited us.
You see, Chadd has been wanting a particular peach smoothie from a new cafe, The Speckled Hen.
It took us 0 seconds to decide to head on over there and pick one up for him.
They kindly put it in a second cup of ice so that we could try to keep it semi solid until we got to the hospital again.  Chadd was sleeping when we got back but was so happy to see it when he woke up.  He sipped at it the rest of the evening.  Loving it.
Little things.

Due to his pain, and the fact that he hadn't slept the night before, Chelsea and I headed home earlier than usual.  It was still light and it was such a beautiful evening.
We were happily surprised to find Mikey and Emily here.
They had come down to hang out and enjoy the sunset.
Chelsea went for a walk with them as the sun did indeed set and it was good for her to be with 
her big brother and sister-in-law.
Emily is Chelsea's Matron of Honor.

Jonathan had left for work shortly after we arrived home.  But I have to tell you that he has been such a help and support as well.  He stays in the background but is keeping up with things and is always there if I need him.  He keeps his eye on Chelsea and does what he can to help her too.

Anyway, the pizza.

We were just sitting here talking and all of a sudden I had this incredible craving for fresh, hot pizza.
This is kind of surprising since I had that horrible experience with the pizza from the hospital but I guess my body knew that that had been it's own special evil and we could trust our local pizzeria.
There was something "almost normal" about having a late night pizza party with the kids that made the calories worth it.

I talked to Chelsea about her feelings of guilt and being punished for not appreciating life "before".  
Isn't it amazing how the enemy tries to twist and turn these things?
Well, he can just quit it.
We are wise to him.
No guilt.
This is not punishment.
This is life.
Things happen.
And for all we know this is grace and mercy.
Time will tell if there is more to be gained from this experience.

In the meanwhile...I vow to not eat pizza every night.
It could happen.

Do you love late night pizza?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Taking My Own Advice

Over this past week I have been spewing advice to my daughter.  You know, things like, telling her to see God's hand in everything in an attempt to grasp that we are in His care.  To be honest with Him and let Him know how you feel.  It's not like He doesn't know anyway, right?  I've told her she doesn't have to be strong to be a good testimony for Him.  To let the anger come....
......just at the fact that this thing happened.
We know He could have prevented it.

This morning I am alone at home and the stress began building again.  I ran to the pharmacy for the medication the doctor ordered for anxiety.  The fear of having that horrifically high heart rate again is similar to my fear of the next complicated migraine.  
 Stress inducing in itself.

I took a sliver of a pill.  Wanting to know how it would impact me.  Much to do today and a few places I really should drive.  I don't want to do anything dangerous.  

I felt a bit sleepy and laid down in the recliner.  All of a sudden it hit me!  
I've been telling her all of this stuff.  
I've been talking ABOUT God.  
But have I been talking TO Him?  

There have been the prayers of praise.  I mean them.

There have been the pleas for those who have been impacted and for those we love.

But had I expressed to Him that I am angry that this situation is in our lives?  
That our kids will never be the same again? 
 That even though I know that He will take this and redeem it 
it still hurts SO much?  

I don't think I had.

I have now.

He still loves me.
His presence is so real.
It is safe to be totally real back with Him.

Too bad it took me so long to take my own advice.
In those very moments my cell phone lit up with messages
 from the ladies I have Bible study with 
every other week.
Words of love and support as they represent Him in my day.

Never be afraid to just say it like it is with the One who knows and loves you most!
He's o.k. with it.

Authentic relationships are the very, very best kind.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Am Clearly Not Invincible....But YOU already knew that!

Mentally, I think I can muscle through just about anything.  But that would be wrong.
Physically, I think, I hope, I plead with my body to just hang in a bit longer.  It doesn't.
Spiritually, the hope and faith in His plan remains.  Question is.....what is that plan?

Last night the physical crumbled.  It had been coming on for days.  Ever since last week on this very date I knew my heart wasn't the same.  However, I was quite pleased at my ability to walk and walk all over the hospital.  The past couple of days though I have noticed my heartbeat.  Heavy and fast.
But there was much to be done.  People to take care of.  By last evening there was no one who needed help more than I.  As I attempted to lay down to sleep my entire body throbbed to my heartbeat.  As if there was a drummer inside.  I attempted twice to lay down and sleep. No go.
I quietly went to the kitchen to call my doctor and ask if I could take another blood pressure pill.
He denied that and ordered me to the ER.

I told Warren.  Poor man.

We went quietly.  I knew I was in trouble and prayed that we would get there before anything horrible happened.  Didn't want Warren in that position because of my stubbornness.  We passed an ambulance on the way and I wondered if it was because I was going to pass out and then they would be close.  The things  your brain does when you are in distress.

There was no wait at the ER.  Triaged and seen immediately I was put on monitors.  It sounded at first like a regular super fast heart beat.  But Warren looked up and I tensed as there was a notable two beat skip a couple of times and then the crazy began.  Up to the 150's and all over the place went my heartbeat.  I begged them to help me please.  People showed up like crazy and they were ready for me to crash.  All of a sudden it went back to the original speedy pace and the doc said that he knew what was going on.  He prescribed meds to get me back under control.  They took an x-ray of my chest.  Found out I was dehydrated.  So between the intense stress, exhaustion and dehydration I had totally whacked out my body.

Today I am still at home for the first time since Chadd's accident.  Mom had off today and she and Chelsea are at the hospital.  I'm praying that this very same thing doesn't happen to Chelsea.  I know she is exhausted.  I'm so proud of her for her efforts to stay fed and hydrated.  God has blessed her with sleep at night.  And so with her darling Chadd getting better day by day the stress should ease up a bit.  He was a bit standoffish with her for a while due to the way he felt and looked.  Last evening they took the final tube out of his face and gave him a scrub.  He was a new man.  It was great to see him making eye contact with her again and even reaching for her.  Even guys can be concerned about their appearance.  Who knew??

One week.  That's all.

I think of Mrs. Kunkle's family.  Can they believe it has been a week?  Are they ok?  Only God knows and we are not supposed to make any official contact at this point.  This goes against all that is in us......but we are hoping word leaks back to them how very much we are sorry for what happened and for their loss.

I will not be discussing anything legal here or anything about the process.  I apologize if it feels that we are so one sided but it is just how it needs to be at the moment.  This remains simply a personal accounting of our thoughts and concerns as we walk this journey.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Acting On Her Faith

I admit to some trepidation as I write this post that someone may not understand...  but it is another honest look at the journey we are on.  I am so proud of Chelsea and how she is progressing and growing through this tragedy.  Her future mother-in-law, Robin, and I have commented on it so many times.  Most recently she blew me away when she talked to the nurse and gave him instructions.  Seriously?
My little girl did that??
High Five.

So, yesterday they closed the ICU Unit for an extra hour so that they could perform a sterile procedure bedside of one of the other patients.  I had anticipated a two hour break as usual and had candles in a cooler in the car to take to Back Home Again in Lititz
 as she had sent a message needing more.
Chelsea and I had planned to stop into a second hand shop to look at their wedding dresses while we were there and so when Chadd's mom was trying to decide what to do with her break we both excitedly asked her to come along.
Robin agreed!
We were so thrilled.

And so we left the nice cool, dry air of the hospital and walked into the wall of heat and humidity of the parking garage and headed on our way.
It amazes me how quickly people can bond in these times.
Robin and I had only messaged each other a few times on Facebook in the months prior to this.
But now after a few days together she is a friend.
A real friend.

As we drove through Neffsville on our way up to Lititz a small bridal shop caught Chelsea's eye.
It was not the one we were expecting to visit but it was the one we ended up returning to.
No appointment.
Just a crew of three walking in, stressed, tired but determined to do something forward looking.

The sales lady set us up in a room with mirrors and a dressing room.
I told them straight up what was going on and that we might not be their typical bridal party.

Immediately I spotted a simply elegant dress with lace.
I pointed it out to Chelsea.
The sales lady took us to another room to begin and Chelsea said to me...
"I just want to try on that other dress".
I assured her that she would be able to do that but that she could also find
six other dresses to try if she wanted.
Seven was our sales lady's special number to start with.

After a few minutes Chelsea came up with two dresses to try.
One of them being that first dress she liked.

She tried a pink dress that could be ordered in white.

It was pretty but was not the one.

She tried the lace dress.

You would have fallen in love with this lace too.

As Chelsea and I discussed whether this was a post I should write she said I could if I explain her reasoning and the meaning in wedding dress shopping in the midst of these hard days.

The reason is HOPE!
Hope is a very powerful thing.
Chelsea also wanted to prove to Chadd that she is one hundred percent committed to his recovery and to them being together as husband and wife in the future.

Chelsea and Chadd have no idea what the immediate future holds for them.
I am sure that Chadd has questions about whether Chelsea will remain in his life.
She had no doubt about that!

There are legal possibilities that are scary.
There is the emotional healing that will have to come.
So.much for these two lovebirds.

But they hold onto HOPE.

And so when Chelsea loved this dress she purchased it.
With her own money.
Granted it came in well under budget because that is how Chelsea rolls
but it was important to her that she make an investment in the future.
She needed to show Chadd that she is in this thing all the way.
He knows how hard it is for her to part with any money.
She is a saver...the make money squeak kind.
She also needed parental support that it will be o.k. in the long run.
That we not say..."Oh, you'd better wait.".
No, she needed to have that encouragement to do the next positive thing.

I cannot express to you how much it meant to both Chelsea and I that Robin was with us.
To have both of her mothers encouraging her to look to the future.
To trust enough that she could keep on planning.
Wedding planning has certainly lost it's innocent joy.
She is grieving that.
But with each day as Chadd grows a bit stronger she is coming back too.
They are connected spirit to spirit.
I've never seen anything quite like it.

So, I hope you won't think it insensitive or frivolous that we did this thing at such a time as this.
It is necessary.
It is healing.

She smiled a big smile for the very first time since the accident.

Healing hope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sitting in A Waiting Room

Confession time.  I actually like hospitals.  

I know many people who really can't stand to be in them......and most of them have very legit reasons for feeling that way.  I've been through much in hospitals from the birth and immediate emergency surgery on our firstborn to the illness and passing of both dads and my grandparents....even as a patient myself multiple times.

I enjoy the hustle and bustle, the muffled sounds of rubber soled shoes, the various televisions and conversations going on around.  The smells even.  I know!  I'm weird. I accept it.  But there must be others who feel as I do because the hospital is crammed full of caring and compassionate workers who choose to show up every day and spend up to 12 hours at a time here.

Since receiving the news of Chadd's accident on Thursday we have spent most of our waking moments here.  We have come and gone from the same waiting room in the Trauma Neuro Unit for days.  We see the same families who come to sit with their loved ones.  Occasionally there is a new face.  But there is a familiarity and a comfort in seeing these same faces even as we are not discussing "our" patients with each other.

Now as I sit here there is construction work nearby.  Someone is drilling.  So much for the quiet waiting room experience.  But it doesn't bother me when I think of all that it takes to keep a massive building like this going.

Yesterday as we sat and waited Chelsea put together a GoFundMe page for Chadd.  She titled it Blessings for Chadd.  Sadly, Chadd had just changed jobs with the goal in mind of bringing in more income so they could afford to be married.  He was relieved to hear that his new job is still in place when he is able to go back.  In fact he was so relieved that I was afraid he was going to hurt himself in his hyperventilating.  But what the job change means is that he was in between insurance coverage.  His new coverage was expected to kick in after 90 days of starting his new job.  I'm going to give you the link to the page but hope that you won't feel any obligation.  It would be great if it could be shared though.  It is Chelsea's second greatest concern, after Chadd's health, that they would still be able to get married in May.  If he has mega bills that would definitely have a negative impact on those plans.  We have faith that we are still in the palm of His loving, caring and all knowing hands.

Monday, July 20, 2015

More of the Story...With photos

A Pastor friend left a note on my Facebook page referring to this time in our lives as a journey.  She is so right.  This is not a moment, this is not a day, there is a destination but it is afar off at this point.  We are journeying day by day through pathways that seem cruel on the surface.
We rest on His promise that He is with us....we have made memorials in our hearts and minds to all of the miracles that had to happen "just so" to keep our Chadd here.
He has no memory of the accident at this point.
But he is trying so hard to remember that we never know at what moment it might come flooding back.  Our wish for him right now is that he get stronger.

On Thursday evening Warren got the call from a fire fighter friend who was on scene.
Warren called me just as I walked into Musser's Grocery store in Buck, Pa.
He told me Chadd had been air lifted to the hospital from a horrible accident.
My knees buckled and I found myself on the floor, holding onto the shopping cart I had just offered to return to the store for a woman wearing a Black Rock Retreat T-shirt.
Funny the details you remember.
But Black Rock was the wedding venue that had been tops on Chelsea's list before we found the one they are actually going to use.  On the day Chelsea and Chadd got engaged we had gone out to look at it.
Anyway, as I hung onto the cart, my heart was beating so hard that I thought it might
just come right out of my chest.
An employee was in my periphery asking if she could help.
The news from Warren was just so shocking that I couldn't respond to her immediately.
She got her managers and they took me to their office.
That kind of snapped me out of it because there were two tall men, 
looking quite uncomfortable and helpless just staring at me.
I was thankful for their kindness in offering me a spot to recover.
I told them I needed to do two things.
Use the restroom and get to the hospital.
What I knew was that Chelsea was headed to the hospital not knowing that Chadd had been air lifted
and I was not ready for her to walk into that situation alone.
I jumped into the van....knowing that I probably shouldn't be driving and could possibly need
an ambulance myself because of the shock and my heart's reaction to it.
However, the mother in me would have none of that delay.
I headed up Route 272 only to run into massive traffic and flashing lights.
I momentarily thought that Warren must have gotten the details wrong.
But why would Chadd have been on 272?
I was detoured.
Calling Warren, who was sitting in Willow Street by now waiting for Chelsea to meet him,
since he found out that she could not get up Route 222.
These highways run parallel and are the main North/South arteries.
I told him that she wasn't going to get up 272 either, which was where he had told her to go.
Now I was in a real panic, because I could just picture her caught in that awful line of traffic
just like me and neither of us could get to the hospital.
Finally Warren and I agreed that I would go home and that Chelsea should meet me there.
We would go up May Post Office Road.
And so I headed home.
Alas, as I was about to turn onto the road above our development there was yet another road closure.
This time due to road work.
Yet another delay and detour.
I threw my hands into the air and laughed telling God that I got it.
Obviously I was not meant to be at the hospital yet.
Finally upon getting home, telling Jonathan what I knew and arranging for him 
to take over some of my responsibilities Warren called back and said that Chelsea had already headed up to Strasburg.  He had instructed her to stop at Sight and Sound and wait for me.
This was the best thing that could have happened.
Her co-workers ministered to her in such a blessed way.
And Grandma Ruth was working there so I was able to get through to her
 and explain the gravity of the 
situation that Chelsea only suspected but did not yet know for sure.

On my drive up May Post Office road I spoke with my dear friend, Melissa, 
and we went over the possibilities.  I expressed concern about whether they had been 
able to contact Chadd's mother.  She confirmed my desire to stop by her house to see.
Now, from the time we received the news and tried to get to the hospital....
what should have taken 30 minutes from each of our places....
it had now been at least an hour and a half.
As I was leaving Sight and Sound with Chelsea we were able to confirm from 
Warren, who was now at the hospital that Chadd's mother had not been notified and the hospital needed her consent for surgery.  That settled it.  We headed to see if she was home.
There was a very definite feeling of dread for having to share that news.
I knew the blow it had been to me and I am not his birth mother.
However, I also knew this was not news Robin should receive over the phone.
We pulled up to her neighborhood and Chelsea saw her car.
We knew she was home.
What we would find out later was that she had been home for mere minutes.

We rushed to the door and knocked.
She came and smiled in greeting.
I remember that smile because I knew I was about to wipe it off her face and hated every second that came after that.
We were quickly back in the car and on the way to the hospital.
I have to say that Robin took it better, physically, than I did.
Her shock was most likely another layer deeper.

The rest of the evening was spent with friends and family as we waited for Chadd to go through his first surgery to repair a torn artery in his leg which threatened the ability to even keep that foot.
He was fighting for his life due to the blood loss.
I've told you that God had a woman named Shelley on scene who is a nurse midwife and she
kept pressure on his wounds or he would not be here today.
No question.
She also helped him stay calm and prayed with him.
I've also found out that two of my friends were also on scene.
One involved to the point of giving water out of her car and then standing on the road 
praying out loud...all the while not knowing Chadd's connection to us.
The other in the traffic jam...also praying.
Isn't our God amazing????
How can we not trust?
Even as I type that the fear remains.   I am not perfectly able to rest....
but I'm doing my best.  And I know without a doubt that whatever happens it will be within His will and He will help us through.

But in any case, we were surrounded on all sides with love and prayer as we waited for the initial 
life saving surgery to be completed.
He made it through.
His leg and foot intact.
The extent of his injuries were unknown to us still at this point.  We got bits and pieces from each doctor and it was amazing how they were putting him back together.
So...that was day one.
Friday morning we came into his room.
We expected a day of healing and comfort for him.

Friday morning before surgery number two was even a possibility in our minds.
 However, I noticed Chadd's nurse, Jason standing at the foot of his bed
just staring at the monitors and thinking.
He mentioned a concern and it wasn't too long after that they were rushing Chadd back to surgery.
This time for a situation in his pelvic area.
I am so thankful for the knowledge and intuition of these medical professionals.
They make a difference.
The surgeon explained that signs pointed to trouble and he wasn't willing to wait
for symptoms to confirm it because that would be too dangerous.
This doctor is now on my top ten fav's list with Shelley and nurse Jason.

As God would have it Chelsea and Chadd's closest friends were there.
Kevin having just worked an overnight shift.
This is how I found them.....I couldn't resist taking the photo.
I want Chelsea and Chadd to have a record of the special moments from these dark days.

As we waited through the surgery another co-worker showed up and was the God supplied 
Grandpa Chelsea needed just then.
Both of hers are with Jesus.

 Henry read and prayed.
He has a very thick accent and it is so special to hear him read, pray and encourage
in a nearly circular manner where you wonder how in the world he is even able to breathe.

Chadd made it through that surgery where the bowel perforation was confirmed and repaired.
A couple of extra procedures made it take much longer than we anticipated but we were thankful
that the doctor went ahead with them because it was necessary.

Saturday morning.
Chadd rests and Chelsea oversees.
This was a hard day for me emotionally and physically.
The exhaustion settled in and there were some ruffled feathers that needed to be 
smoothed.  I will tell you that the Chaplain had some good words for me and that Chelsea stepped up to be a peacemaker and all is good.
The strength that God has been growing in Chelsea over these years she has 
been fighting Anorexia are serving her very well in this battle.
She is a very determined and courageous young lady!

 And while we are touching on the subject of her eating I just have to tell you that the 
hospital food host has taken to Chelsea. 
He has offered her, and only her, a tray for lunch and dinner.
We are so touched.

Yesterday....we waited again.
For Chadd to have a rod put in his left leg.
There is much of that to be done.

 We do it with books, chatter, rest, some news on the television, Kindle, friends and family.

 Emily and Mikey have been so WITH us.
Jonathan has been holding down the fort here and scolding us when we forget to keep him in the loop.
Yesterday was Chelsea's hardest day yet.  I'm glad I had mine a day earlier and was feeling better yesterday or we would have been quite a mess together.

 Finally the surgery was complete and declared a success.  I will spare you all the details but this young man is one day going to be a walking miracle.  At the moment he is a lying in a hospital bed miracle.  We don't know all that God is doing through this but He is doing BIG stuff that we do know about and cannot yet share.  Trust me!  He is at work!!

Preparing an iPod for Chadd so he can listen to music.  Here they are making it impossible for him to get to the internet on that device.

 Our next big hurdle, as far as we know, is for Chadd's family to tell him about the accident
and the resulting passing of the other driver.
I can barely type those words as I know how that is going to impact him.
We have a wonderful counselor on standby to help us through.
Thankfully we have great friends who care enough to get involved and make the recommendation.

The legal stuff lies ahead.
It scares us to death.
However, we know that God didn't save Chadd's life to not do something
powerful with it.
We know beyond a doubt that what is yet to come will not be easy.
We simply pray,
"Thy will be done and please give us the strength to cope."

Our family grieves with the Kunkle family.
Mrs. Kunkle was 78.
Had just celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary.
Had grandchildren.
We didn't know her but she lived just miles away.
She was loved.
Her life mattered.
We grieve unreservedly.

We have no idea how this accident occurred and Chadd has no memory of it yet.
But we are all so very, very sad for her passing and their loss.
There is not a moment that goes by when they are not in our thoughts and prayers.
Maybe one day we will meet and they can know how very deeply we all care.
These things are touchy and we want to be sensitive.
When Chadd finds out it will, without a doubt, be the darkest day of his life.
He is such a tender compassionate man.
His first question after waking up was to want to know if anyone else was hurt.
We have put him off until he is not so critical.
Any day now it will have to be revealed to him and he will never be the same again.
No matter what the final investigation reveals about the circumstances
he will carry this.
That is just who he is.
But again, the counselor is ready and willing to walk this journey with us
and is reminding us that these dark days will get brighter.

In time.

Friday, July 17, 2015

We Can't Believe it!

Yesterday's blog post was all about joy and happiness.  It made an assumption that things would go on as normal and we would blissfully and without concern plan a wedding.
Well, life can definitely throw curve balls.

Yesterday our dear Chadd was in a horrific head on collision as he headed down to our home for dinner with his girl.  He was immediately tended to by a Good Samaritan nurse midwife who happened to be on scene.  In today's world of not wanting to get involved we cannot thank her enough.  Her name is Shelley and we hope to meet her soon.  She talked to him, held pressure on his leg where a major artery was torn.  He told her he is a Christian and so she prayed with him.  Finally the first responders arrived....there was another 5 car accident just miles away and they had been working that accident.  They assessed Chadd and decided that he needed a medivac from the scene.  As God would have it the helicopter was already on it's way to the other accident site.  It was detoured to pick up Chadd.  We are quite sure that Shelley and that helicopter are the two main reasons Chadd survived this accident.  He lost so much blood.  Time was critical!

Chadd's family and ours mingled last evening in the surgical waiting room.  We are getting to know each other.  His mom and I were planning a lunch next week so that we could really talk about the wedding and get acquainted.  Well, we'll be having lunches the hospital.

For now they are keeping Chadd sedated and he is in Trauma ICU.  They were able to save his leg...we were told that he might not get to keep it.  They did needed repair on the torn that they tied it off.  Too much damage to reconnect.  They temporarily stabilized his broken left femur and will do surgery on it next week.

An amazing number of friends showed up to wait with us....and so many others shared on Facebook that they were praying and asked others to do the same.  We are so touched!!

Chelsea and I are soon heading back in to the hospital.  I slept for about three hours....hoping it is enough to carry me through this sure to be long day.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Linking to the Engagement Story

First day of a "candle glow" photo challenge from our friend Carol at Carol's Heirloom Collection

No one can tell the engagement story quite like the girl who answered that all important question.
Chelsea has started a brand new blog to document this journey.  To say she is excited would be putting it mildly.  We are so happy for her.

We went out one evening this week and she tried on a few wedding gowns.  Fun!  We don't have a winner yet.  Mostly because it is too much fun to shop.....maybe next week we will be ready for that fun to be done.  Can't guarantee it though.

Here is that blog post from Chelsea at Burlap and Blue Hydrangeas.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Our week was full....Here's a sampling.

So....guess what we did this week.

Time is up!!

We worked on wedding stuff.
It was fun.
I think we will enjoy it overall.

Hopefully since the wedding isn't until next May
we will have plenty of time to do things 
without major stress.

Also....we worked on my workshop.
Then I hid out in it during a severe storm after which the sun
came streaming through the window....

We attended opening day of a new cafe in Strasburg.
It is called The Speckled Hen.
They have amazing Peach, Pear and Apricot Smoothies.
Oh yes, they do!

Warren and I grumpily took the family to 
see the fireworks in Lancaster.
After years of Warren being employed by a professional fireworks company
nothing else quite compares....and we never get the
"good seats" as we did in those days.
I'm afraid Fire One has made us fireworks snobs.
I wish I could say we got over it after getting there?
Sorry...not so much.
But I did take this pretty cool photo....
with my phone!

Perhaps we were just tired. 
It was the day Chelsea and Chadd got engaged and we had
gone to look at a wedding venue.

Oh, I made candles too. 
I know that must shock you.
But really it amazes me that in the heat of 
Summer candles are selling.
My retail locations are so awesome.
Every one of them.

I'm considering expanding that part of the business.
The Non-Profits are firing up again too
as well as a business I create for.

Etsy has been painfully slow.
Not sure what is going on there.
I know I am not alone in the significant slow down there.
Hoping they figure it out and I start to
 "get found" again soon.

If you are interested in the different organizations
and businesses I work with regularly
here is a list.

Oh my, I feel like I might be forgetting someone.....
certainly there are others who come and go 
but these are the people with whom I am in contact
very regularly.
They would love it if you would pop into their websites or 
Facebook Pages just to learn a bit more about them.

If you know of a not for profit looking to raise funds this 
Fall/Winter please pass on my name.
There is a hot chocolate mug in it for you.  
They won't be offered as a fundraiser item this year but
I have a few special mugs for referrals.
Just sayin'.

O.k.  I guess I need to get off here and get some things
done.....there is plenty to do!

Have a wonderful Sunday.

I'll leave you with a custom order made for a Ladies Tea

I never get tired of making these pretties.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

And Finally I Am Allowed to Share!

On Sunday
this happened!!

A few weeks ago Chadd worked up the courage 
to ask Warren for his blessing.
Warren gave it.

And then we waited.
For the time to be right.
For the ring to be sized to fit Chelsea's 
delicate ring finger.
For Sunday, July 5th....the day of their 
all day celebration of her 20th birthday.
Her actual birthdate is July 6th, but this was close enough
to be good cover for Chadd's true intentions.

They went to her favorite spot in Lititz for breakfast.
The Tomato Pie Cafe.
They walked Lititz and took pretty photos.
They went to a favorite Park to walk 
and share a lunch picnic.
Overlook Park.

He got down on one knee
and told her he loved her so much that........

and she said "Yes"!

We have a very busy year ahead.
The wedding will be in May 2016.

They are adorable as they work through the details.
We believe we have chosen and confirmed the wedding venue.

It was her second choice but seems to be perfect
and even better than her first choice
in many, many ways.

This morning at 9:30 her co-workers and his former co-workers will get the news 
and then this post will become available for you to see.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Golf is Coming to Lancaster!

On Monday the Ladies U.S. Open Golf Tournament
 is going to begin here in Lancaster County.
Around 100,000 visitors will come to

I made a few of these cuties for Back Home Again in Lititz.  

The scent is 
Fresh Cut Grass.

It will be interesting to see if anyone picks them up as a reminder 
of their visit here for this huge event.

Our Daughter-in-law works for the landscape 
company that is doing much of the plant and floral design
work on site.
What an honor!
I can't wait to see her work on the television
broadcasts of the Open.
She is so talented and a very hard worker.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Just a little Chatter....

The workshop is yellow
and I am recuperating.

I remember why I stopped being so eager to paint.
My neck hates it.

However, with every wall in our house needing paint as we can 
get to it my neck is just going to have to adjust!
Who knew we would stay in the same house for
twelve years....already!
Our former record was three years.  
All of that painting and remodeling that 
happened then has been well lived in 
and marked up.

I did find out that my darling daughter-in-law enjoys will be fun to spend time with her 
as we work.

We had a fun belated birthday dinner for Warren last evening.
I took no pictures.
We were too busy eating and chatting away.

Chelsea's birthday is on Monday.
We'll have to do something fun for that.
She is leaving her teens.

I hear we are going to have a bonfire on Friday evening
with Mikey and Emily.
Then a picnic with Chelsea and Friends on Saturday
before we head out to watch fireworks in a distant cemetery.
Fun times with our peeps!

What are you up to this Holiday Weekend?
Stay safe, please!!