Friday, January 30, 2009

Rejoicing, yet continuing to intercede

I know I wrote a post this morning, but I just wanted to share some exciting news. Joel is off of the ventilator & breathing on his own now! This morning the doctor decided that Joel was breathing well enough to remove his ventilator. He is no longer on any breather treatments. We are very grateful for his progress. He is not eating yet on his own, but Lord willing this will come in the next few days.

I'll share a few pictures with you from the past few days. You'll see one picture with his ventilator still in, but it is no longer there.

Then this morning Katelyn got to hold Joel for the first time since Tuesday which was truly blessed her heart.

We just love every part of him, even his little toes as you'll see in the third picture.

The last picture is our first family picture :)

Thank you for your prayers and support. We are so grateful for our gracious God who blesses us beyond measure even through trials. Even through this trial we are able to know the graciousness and goodness of our wonderful Lord and Savior.

Still thankful and rejoicing,

This is going to be a quick update because we are about to leave for the hospital. Thank you for those who are holding Joel before the Throne of Grace. We are learning of God's goodness and His peace. There is a peace that passes all understand that only God provides. We cried out for this peace and our loving Heavenly Father has given that peace to us in abundance.

Little Joel is doing better. He is still in NICU, but doing much better. He has been on a ventilator since Wednesday afternoon. However, the ventilator levels are slowly decreasing. He began by receiving 100% oxygen through the ventilator and now he is down to 23% oxygen. The ventilator was also regulating how many full breathes he would take per minute. They started him off at 40 and now he is down to 25. This may or may not make sense to you, just know that it is a good thing.
As of yesterday afternoon they put him under a billi rubin lamp for some slight jaundice. This does not concern us to much, just because it is a quite common problem. He should come out from under the light this morning.

Please continue to pray that he will be able to breath on his own very soon. Lord willing He will soon be able to take full and slow breaths all by himself. Once he can breath on his own, they will begin feeding him through his mouth (currently it is all being done through an IV). Please pray that Joels body will be able to eat and digest food normally.

This is all for now. We are so very grateful for each of you and for your prayers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

God is faithful & good,

Well, in case any of you have not heard as of now, God has brought us a wonderful baby boy. Katelyn's water broke at 12:45 am on Monday, January 26. We arrived to the hospital a little before 1:30 am, and waited. . . waited. . . and waited some more. After she was prescribed petosin (sp?), she went into labor. She began having pretty heavy contractions around 11:30 am on Monday, and at 8:37 pm on Monday, January 26th, the Lord gave us a wonderful baby boy.

His name is Joel Alan. We like the name Joel, & we love the message of the book of Joel (in the minor prophets) that speaks wonderfully of God's patience and long suffering in redeeming His people. We are so thankful for a God who is faithful to love and forgive. Our prayer for Joel is that he will one day come to trust in & adore this Lord who loves and cares for him so much. His middle name, Alan, is Kateln's fathers middle name. We are so grateful for him and his love for Jesus Christ that we desired to include his name in Joel's name.

There is more to the story of his birth, which I'm sure will be told time and time again. Before Joel was born we asked God to do with him exactly as He desired. We knew that God's will is not always ours, but His will is always good. Well, the Lord is testing us to prove if we actually mean what we pray. On Tuesday morning, about 12 hours after his birth, the nurse noticed that Joel was breathing very quickly. The took him to the nursery and then directly to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), where he currently is.

At first his lungs looked normal and healthy, but today they didn't look so good. They are partially collapsed and not fully developed. He has been on several different kinds of breathing treatments to help his little body obtain oxygen. Even though he was breathing fast (close to 90 times per minute), he was not getting near enough oxygen because he was breathing very shallow. Also, the rapid breathing has made it near impossible for him to eat because he can't stop breathing for a long enough period of time to swallow. Thankfully the hospital where he is staying is only two weeks old. The NICU is a stage 3 NICU which means that they can treat any infant with any problem. He is receiving excellent care, and for that we are grateful.

As of this morning, Joel was placed on a ventilator. The ventilator is regulating the depth of his breathing. He is still breathing fast, but at least he is receiving sufficient oxygen. They are feeding him through an IV which is allowing him to stay hydrated and nourished. Please pray for Joel. Our plan was not for him to be at the hospital while we are home (Katelyn was discharged at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, and her body is recovering very well!). Yet, Psalm 18:30 tell us that, "as for God, His way is Perfect!" We rejoice in knowing that our Lord's plan has not been "messed up" because Joel is sick. We would appreciate you holding us three before the throne of grace in a few specific ways, and we would be extremely grateful for your encouragement to us through prayer.

1) Pray that his Doctor, Dr. Woo, will have wisdom to treat him properly and quickly.
2) Pray that his current health difficulties will not lead to greater difficulties.
3) Pray that he will not acquire any greater illness or flu symptoms while there.
4) Pray for his parents to trust the Lord and rejoice in His goodness and grace even through this time.

Below our several pictures of Joel. He is a precious, precious child. We love him dearly! We'll keep you posted on his condition as time goes on.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Schroedie is almost here. . .

It has been quite some time since our last post, and much has happened in our lives. We've made it through Christmas & New Years which was such a wonderful time of year. We are so blessed to have family close by. We immensely enjoyed our Holiday season with the wonderful family that God has blessed us with. We spent much time with Dad & Mom Hougham, Scott, Ross, Ryan & Lauren, and even with the grandparents. What a joyous time it was.

Katelyn's Christmas/Anniversary gift was a 3 night trip to San Diego over our Anniversary. As you'll see from the pictures, it was absolutely beautiful. We knew that once "schroedie" enters this world, our ability to go away with just the two of us will be greatly limited - which is a wonderful new phase of life - but we also cherish the time that we get to spend together. We are so thankful for how the Lord provided for us to go down there. We enjoyed the time together, walking along the beach, going to the San Diego Zoo, and just spending hours talking with one another. God is so good and faithful to allow me (justin) to marry my best friend! Truly, I am blessed beyond measure. Below are some pictures of our time in Southern Cal.

Well, after our relaxing few days in San Diego, we came back home and hit the ground running. You see, this past weekend was Winter Camp for our student ministry. Wow - what a wonderful weekend we had! Again - God is faithful and good! We had six couples from our Grace come on the retreat as staff/sponsors which was a tremendous blessing. One of our elders from Grace spoke and did a marvelous job of clearing laying out the Word of God. The theme for the week was, "Purity - living a life of whole hearted devotion to God." Lives are being changed into His glorious image and for that we are thankful! Continue to pray for many saved and unsaved students who are making serious effort to draw closer to Christ.

Winter Camp took place on South Lake Tahoe, which obviously places us even closer to the Lord:) The majestic beauty of Lake Tahoe clearly points to the Creator (Romans 1:20). Our time was rich beyond what we could have hoped for. Thankfully, Katelyn made it through the weekend! Praise the Lord. She continued to have strength even though she is 35 weeks pregnant. As you'll see from the pictures, she is VERY pregnant. It seems that her feet continue to swell on a daily basis and we are about to endeavor to take her rings off without removing her fingers:) She loving refers to her toes as "little sausages;" I might add that they are cute none the less. To say the least, we are ready to meet this little life that God is about to bring into the world. Please continue to pray that the Lord will bring this child into the world safely. But even more than that, pray that this child will love Jesus Christ with all it's heart. We have one desire for this little one and that is that it would love the Savior with all it's heart.

I'll continue to post with greater regularity as Schroedie approaches. If there are ways in which we can pray for you, please let us know. We hope that you are able today to rejoice in Jesus Christ who alone has redeemed us!

With much love and gratitude,