Monday, April 30, 2007

A Wonderful Weekend!

The Lord greatly blessed our weekend! For starters Thomas made it home from Washington D.C. safely. After eating a yummy meal at Cracker Barrel, Isaiah and I picked him up from the airport. Isaiah was one happy boy to see his daddy again! I love how he is becoming more and more aware of us and loving us. Thomas went to bed early that night, which was good because he needed to be well-rested for celebrating his 30th birthday the next day!

After a good night's sleep, Thomas was ready to start celebrating! Isaiah and I had quite the day planned. We fixed him a good breakfast and let him open a couple of presents. Then the real fun began. On Friday my friend Michelle helped Isaiah and me in the planning of a little scavenger hunt for Thomas to get the rest of his presents. We had so much fun thinking of different clues and wondering what Thomas' reaction was going to be. We were not disappointed. Thomas seemed to really enjoy driving around town and figuring out his clues, especially when he was rewarded with a pyramid of Tim Horton's coffee! Thank you to all the friends who let me use their homes and businesses for the fun.

In our family a birthday tradition is picking what you want for your birthday meal. Thomas requested chicken and dumplings and fresh turnip greens. Since I had never cooked either of those dishes, I added a couple of side dishes that I knew would turn out, just in case. He also requested a special, decadent fudge cake for his birthday cake. After the scavenger hunt, I stayed in the kitchen until lunch time. Praise the Lord, everything turned out--even the turnip greens! We had some wonderful fellowship with the Nott family before going to church that night for some mission conference meetings.

The meetings were a great encouragement. We were able to hear one of the adult sessions before speaking to the elementary children about Russia. Sunday continued the conference, with
Sunday night being our commissioning service. Some special guests came to share in the time with us, some friends close by and far away. Bill and Robin Harris came to participate in the service. Bill read Psalm 67 in Russian and also gave us a charge about being missionaries. Pastor Joe gave a charge to the congregation, and the elders laid hands on us and prayed for us. It was a really special time.

We are amazed at how the Lord has brought us to where we are. This morning, we finally purchased our tickets. We were able to get them at an amazing price. I know that the Lord was guiding our search. We plotted out on a calendar this evening where we will be the next 2 1/2 months. Thankfully we know that no matter where we are, the Lord will be guiding us and taking care of us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I was thinking today about friends that I have because of Thomas. Thomas is definitely the more extroverted one in our marriage. Sometimes I think that many of the people who like me, like me because I'm married to Thomas. Before you think that I'm feeling sorry for myself, please know that I'm completely all right with this. Sometimes it makes my life a lot easier. I don't have to put out all the energy that it takes to begin relationships.

Anyway. I was thinking about this today as I was driving to our friends' house to have dinner. Thomas is out of town this week. Usually we go to our friends' home together, but today it was just Isaiah and me. As I was driving I started to think about how I ride on Thomas' coattails fairly often. I was wondering about this, and then started to think that in some ways our relationship with Christ is the same way. Because of our relationship with Christ, we have a relationship with the Father. Because of our relationship with Christ, we have amazing riches. We have life because of our relationship with Christ.

Well, just a random thought while driving down the road.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The celebration has begun!

This weekend we went to Baton Rouge, LA to begin celebrating Thomas' 30th birthday (which doesn't actually take place until this Saturday, but it's a big one so we wanted to celebrate in style!). We had a great time visiting with family.

On Friday Thomas' mom and I began
decorating for the party that night. I think that I have the best mother-in-law! She thinks of everything! She had streamers and balloons and signs to make everything quite festive. Being able to help her get things ready was a real treat.

Friday night the family came over, and we all enjoyed some yummy
shrimp creole, well except the 2 nephews who've taste buds have apparently not fully matured to enjoy such wonderful food. They had mac and cheese. After dinner we sat around the table and told "Thomas stories". I learned a lot. Some of them I had heard before, and some were new. Thomas has always been a character! His love for music began very early, and his parents did what they could to promote his talents, which the Lord has continued to bless. I love hearing stories about my husband and learning more and more about him.

Next came presents, which is always fun; then came cake.
Yes, there are 30 candles on that cake, complete with trick candles. I enjoyed that part a great deal, especially since my birthday has already past and I doubt that there are trick candles easily accessible in Russia for Thomas to use next year! It's amazing how much light and then smoke 30 little candles can produce.

Overall we had a grand weekend. Isaiah even slept quite well, which I always enjoy. I love to watch his grandparents enjoy him. He got to play with Grandma a lot on this trip, and they went
outside and played and played. Grandaddy was teaching him some new things about tools and pockets and such. Then Isaiah helped him play Boggle; he helps his daddy with that a lot and has become quite good. We all enjoyed hearing Isaiah chatter away as he has begun to do all the time. I never have to worry about the house being too quiet when Isaiah is awake!

Each visit with family becomes more sweet and special as we realize that we will have only a few opportunities left to have these visits. We look forward to being in NC for a weekend in May, when Beacon Baptist, my home church, celebrates Homecoming. I'm really looking forward to being at a Homecoming again.

Well, I've had several interruptions at this point, and I don't remember where I was going with this, so it's probably a good time to stop. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sweet sounds

I never knew that the "smack, smack" of a baby's hands clapping together could sound so sweet. The other day Isaiah was enjoying himself and started clapping his hands. Who'd have thought that I could have so much delight from such a small thing, but I must confess that I stopped whatever it was I was doing at the time and just listened to that "smack, smack" and smiled to myself. I sure love that little boy!

Isaiah is also starting to say words beyond his babbling conversation.
He has begun to tell me when he is done with his meal with a cute "all done" that at first was hard to distinguish, but I'm finally catching on.

I can hardly believe that he is over a year old. I daily am amazed at all that the Lord has done in his life. He kept him alive the night he was born. He preserved him through surgeries and seizures. He has kept him safe for 14 months with me as his daily care giver! :) I love how God enables you to do something when the time comes. Sometimes I still wonder how we will make one day to the next, and yet God gives the strength to keep going on.

God has already used Isaiah in ministry. Because of Isaiah our family ministry has changed in God's hands. We grow more and more excited as we think about the opportunities that we have to minister that we never would have had if Isaiah was not part of our lives.

And related to that thought, but changing the subject slightly, God gave me a gift today. I was emailing someone that I haven't spoken with since Isaiah was born, I think, and catching her up a little bit on what is going on with our family. As I was typing about what I do with Isaiah every day, God gave me a perspective on my work with him that I have never had before. Every day I try to do physical therapy exercises with Isaiah. Some days he doesn't want to do them as well as other days, but he's usually a lot of fun to work with. Most mothers of 14 month old children don't get to spend as much time with their children, I think. Most of the children that I know around Isaiah's age, who have normal spinal cords are fairly independent at this time. Isaiah needs me more than other children might need their mothers. He can do a lot on his own, and he's completely content to do so, but then he'll need to go somewhere and either Thomas or I need to be there for him. This thought is still sort of new in my mind, so please forgive any rough edges that I need to smooth out later. I have a unique opportunity to show Christ to Isaiah that some other mothers might have to work harder to do. As frail humans we are completely dependent on Christ. Sometimes it is easy to forget that we aren't in control of our lives, that our decisions are the bottom line. In helping Isaiah I can hopefully teach him faithfully how we can depend on God the Father for all our needs, that in fact, He is the One that I depend on to care for Isaiah. And perhaps God is allowing Isaiah to see (as he grows older) the necessity of dependence on Him.

The other day I took some pictures of Isaiah sleeping.
Whenever I look at him sleeping, I am struck with the incredible responsibility that God has given us. God has placed Isaiah in our care for a period of time. I pray that we will be faithful.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Such Fun!

We have been blessed with some great family. This past weekend, Thomas' sister, Emily and her husband Richard were able to come and visit with us. We had so much fun! We were able to just relax with a good supper on Friday night. They even got to hear Isaiah really cry for what the claimed was their first time. We were able to go to the home of the Nott family on Saturday afternoon for some paintball and, of course, some yummy food. Sunday they made the trek with us to Tchula, MS where Thomas was preaching. I love how they are able to be comfortable in whatever situation we put them in.

Watching Emily and Richard play with Isaiah was a lot of fun, too. They just got right down on the floor with him and rolled around. Richard even taught him a trick or two. Isaiah perfected the ability to roll over to his tummy, realize that someone was clapping for him and try to roll to his back as fast as possible so he could clap, too. That probably loses something in the typing/reading, but it was really funny to watch.

We get to see almost all of Thomas' family this weekend for an early birthday celebration for Thomas and our sister-in-law Sandra, and a late celebration for Thomas' grandmother and dad. April is a busy month for our family!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

At Home

Well, we're home now. We were released from the hospital about 1 o'clock this afternoon. We're still hoping to leave tomorrow to go to Montgomery, Alabama, so we got home and jumped into getting things washed and cleaned up for the trip.

Isaiah seems to be doing fine now, though he's absolutely exhausted (as are we). He's been on antibiotics until next Tuesday for his UTI (urinary tract infection), and he'll be taking medicine for his seizures for some time, probably several years. We see the Lord's hand in all of this though. We know that through this we came to understand what the cause of his seizures was. Hopefully his medications will prevent him from having anymore in the future.

Coming home is always bittersweet. Of course it's great to be out of the hospital, but the adrenaline that keeps one going during the situation suddenly drops out and a strange kind of depression can set in. Both Cristy and I went and took turns jogging this afternoon. Also, having this weekend out of town helps too. But there's still this "what just happened?" kind of feeling that comes over us.

I'll confess personally that there are times when I really stop and think about what is going on in our lives, and I realize more clearly the far-reaching effects of the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned they "died, died" (Literally in the Hebrew). Sin brought more than just spiritual death, but physical also. Our bodies grow old. Things stop working the way they're supposed to, and little children are born (if they survive until birth at all) with unexpected problems. No, I don't think that Isaiah's condition is necessarily because of some specific sin in either my life or my wife's. But we're dealing with all of this as a family because of sin. Hospitals are wonderful things, and doctors and nurses are wonderful people, but they all stand as monumental reminders that things are not what they ought to be. We're broken, defective, frail creatures. We treat diseases, fight sicknesses and endure for a time by God's grace only to be overtaken by the inevitable in due season.

So I'm reminded afresh that my hope lies not here on this earth as it is right now. I morn the effects of sin that have brought about the troubles that my son must endure, but I rejoice in the God that made him just as he would have him to be, knowing that this is what is best. He makes no mistakes.

In Christ,

Sleep, sweet sleep

Thank you all for your prayers yesterday, and continued prayers today! We had a much better night last night. Thankfully the only interruptions were the nurse bringing me syringes of medicine to give Isaiah. I think that she brought 3 (maybe 4?) rounds of medicine in the night. Even better, Isaiah didn't wake up while I was trying to squirt the medicine into his mouth in the dark--and I think he even got most of the medicine! :)
(this picture was about 6 months ago, and in his own bed, but I couldn't resist putting a picture of him sleeping--he's just too adorable!)

Thomas said he slept well, and I was able to go right back to sleep after giving Isaiah his medicine. It's amazing how absolute exhaustion will help you sleep anywhere!

We do hope that the plan has not changed for us to go home today. Please pray that the discharge process will be handled very quickly and efficiently. The last time Isaiah was in the hospital we were told at 8:00am that someone would be coming in a few minutes to discharge us. At 1:00pm we were finally leaving the hospital. Waiting to be discharged is like waiting at a green light; I always wonder, "and what are we waiting on?".

We have been greatly ministered to by many people. Isaiah's physical therapist even came by and stayed with him so Thomas and I could go eat supper last night. My sweet friend Guitta let me come take a shower at her house. Sleep and cleanliness can make a world of difference!

Thank you to all of you for praying. We know that the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous avail much!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Update on Isaiah

So we're here at University Medical Center in Jackson. I'll give you the brief rundown on what's happened.

Yesterday (April 3rd) Isaiah was running a fever at home and started throwing up. Last time Isaiah ran a fever he had a seizure that just about scared us to death. Cristy went ahead and took Isaiah to Canton (about 40 minutes away) to his doctor. The doctor discovered that Isaiah had a bladder infection. This occasionally happens with children who have to be catheterized frequently like Isaiah does. While at the doctors office his temperature shot up and he had another fever seizure. He recovered quickly, but his doctor wanted him to go ahead and come to the Hospital just to make sure there was no shunt infection. As they suspected everything was fine with the shunt, but his neurosurgeon wanted him to go ahead and stay overnight just because he was having such a high fever and also to start administering the antibiotics quickly.

This morning Isaiah had another mild seizure, and we were told that they wanted us to stay one more night just to be sure everything was okay. Right now he seems to be doing much better. His temperature has dropped to almost normal.

We did find out another thing, though, today. A couple of weeks ago Isaiah had an EEG (don't ask me what that stands for). Children with spina bifida can occasionally have seizures related to that condition, and the doctors wanted to determine whether his first "fever seizure" weeks ago was connected in any way to his condition. Today they determined that it was. He has very mild seizure activity going on in his brain at times, and it is agitated when he runs a fever. Thankfully a very mild medication should remedy this we were told.

We are thankful for all of the prayers and support. We're doing alright, but we're tired. The Lord continues to be good to us always through these situations.

In Christ,
The Slawsons

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hello again, as time goes by, very randomly

Well, things have been settling back in since Thomas returned from St. Petersburg. Isaiah and I were very happy to see him. While we anxiously waited to pick him up, we were able to have supper with my friend Erin. She's expecting her first baby this month. Baby Jack could be here any day! Anyway, we enjoyed some wonderful Mexican food and rather than anxiously waiting for Thomas' plane to arrive, which actually came on time!

Since he's been back, we've been getting back to b
usiness as usual. He returned to teaching at Covenant and preached the Sunday after he got back.

It amazes me how fast the time is going by. As Isaiah's therapists were here today, we looked at the calendar and decided when his last therapy session would be. I found my eyes tearing up. We made a presentation yesterday to the Sunday school classes at our church. The Lord has been so gracious to bring in our support through some very generous people. Every day we get closer and closer to St. Petersburg. We have over half our support and many people praying for us.

I'm itching to pack up our house. Everywhere I look I see something that we can either sell, store or take to Russia. Is it possible to feel claustrophobic in your own house when you didn't before it was getting time to pack up all your worldly goods and move multiple time zones away?
Anyway. This blog is really a lot of rambling, I think. I don't even remember really what I was intending to talk about in the beginning.
But hey, there's a really cute picture of Isaiah. :)

Speaking of Isaiah, I've never seen a person fight sleep like this adorable little boy. He'll do pretty well at night, but during the day it's unbelievable! I'll lay him down for his naps. Sometimes he'll have fallen asleep nursing beforehand, but he'll wake up the second the last part of my body is no longer in contact with his body. I'm glad that he likes being with me, but you should see his poor little tired eyes.

One really exciting thing: Isaiah is finally feeding himself! He eats lots of things with his hands now. It's amazing how much time this gives me during his meals. I can get all kinds of things done while he eats his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Changing subjects....I'm really excited about the friend that God has provided for me in St. Petersburg. Her name is Luda. Thomas met her at a church that he visited. We have been emailing since even before Thomas came home. She speaks excellent English and has a good since of humor. I'm really thankful that I will have someone close to my age to talk to and spend time with and minister to. She seems to be excited about us coming. She is new to St. Petersburg also, having just moved there in February. Incidentally her birthday is the day after Isaiah's. I just thought that was interesting.

Well, I suppose that I should end the rambling soon. But a few prayer requests first:
This weekend we will be traveling to Montgomery, AL to visit with some families and talk to them about partnering with us.
Please pray that Isaiah will sleep better! He gets so tired during the day that he is not able to work on his physical therapy.
Thomas will be preaching the 15th and the 22nd of this month.
Our church is having a missions conference the weekend of the 28th.
We are continuing to ask for people to partner with us in the work that God has called us to do.
We want to use the time that we have left before our move in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Please pray that we will have time to spend with friends and family to encourage and receive encouragement; to take advantage of every opportunity the Lord puts before us. To look forward with joy and not anxiety to the road ahead.

I'm sure that there will be future rambling posts in which I can update you with the wrapping up of our time here. Thank you for your prayers!