September 17 - Day 95

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: -Matthew 1:22-24

Christmas is dear to my heart with candles, lights, snowflakes, caroling, stories, plays, concerts, mittens, hot chocolate, sharing, caring, kindness, dinners, cookies, and most of all family, friends, and strangers gathering around the table with warm hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ our Lord. December 25th, 2011 will be forever etched upon my heart as a climatic moment of making the second most important decision of my life after the first being salvation through Jesus Christ. It was our first Christmas together and Dean had been planning to propose for weeks as he sought the perfect time. All day he tried to ask my parent’s blessing but found it challenging because I was always by his side like a dryer sheet on clothes. At last they devised a plan with my nana and asked me to come to her house to look at a quilt. I begged Dean to stay with me but he said I should visit and he would return.  He dropped me off and drove up the lane to privately speak with my parents. They gave him their blessing and he quickly returned for me. We took a drive through downtown Chambersburg to look at the Christmas lights, forgetting that we had no dinner. All the restaurants were closed so we stopped at Sheetz (a local gas station) to order a hot dog and turkey sandwich for dinner. I had no idea he was going to propose that night even though we had talked about marriage for months.  I love surprises and wondered why we were driving up the mountain around 9 pm to our favorite spot where we watch the sunrise. I tried to quiet my soul for I wanted to savor the moment and not unwrap the present before it was given. My heart was filled with excitement as we drove off the beaten path from Route 30 towards Big Mountain along the Tuscarora Mountain Ridge. He opened my door and reached down for my hand as he led me to a cleft in the rock for protection from the cold winds sweeping through the valley under the starry host above. He brought two blankets and wrapped me in one as we gazed up at the stars. Then he got down on one knee, asking me to walk by his side through life as his wife. The moment was surreal as my dream was coming true on Christmas night. He gave me his heart and I gladly accepted. We prayed together and he played me the song “The Little Drummer Boy.” God touched his heart in a special way with that song as he shared with me how he wanted to play his drum with all his heart for Jesus. That little drummer boy gave his very best to Jesus. Dean was searching his soul and asking the question we must all ask ourselves, “What gift has God given me and am I using that gift to bring him glory and honor?” Those precious moments could have lasted forever but soon the winds grew bitter and clouds rolled in. I looked at him one last moment before we ran to the car and said, “This is only a picture of life. Clouds may come and cover beautiful moments. However, the clouds are temporary for we know the stars still shine even though we no longer see their sparkling lights reflecting in the eye of our beholder. Even in the darkest times we must believe the truth of God’s love. Like the stars, God is present even when we don't see Him.”

I love to listen to Christmas music throughout the year. On June 15, 2012 the doctor conveyed the devastating news and gave me a bag of Dean’s belongings with only his cell phone and gloves. I listened to the music on his phone as an expression of his heart when I could no longer hear music flow from his lips. I melted when I came across the “The Little Drummer Boy” song he played the night he proposed.  Being sentimental, I played this song every morning while he was in ICU at York. His doctor heard the music and made a flippant remark that perhaps he will be awake by Christmas. Over three months later, I sit by his side holding his hand while sweet Christmas music fills our room. The song was about Emmanual: God is with us and suddenly a stream of tears began to fall upon his chest like a waterfall upon rocks. So he pulled my hand across his chest while snuggled safely inside his palm to his lips in such a comforting way as though he were going to kiss it to let me know he cares. This was a true expression of the man I married as I recalled the many times he wiped away my tears. Even though our walls were now barren, love still remained.

We've been searching for a company in the area that's able to order a custom wheelchair to meet Dean's specific needs. Today he was measured and fitted for a wheelchair. This may take several months to file with insurance; however, we can speed the process up if we pay cash. I also requested a swallow test and it was administered this afternoon. They allowed me to stay in the room and I observed the process. They ran an x-ray video of his mouth and throat and gave him several small amounts of thick consistencies to see whether he would swallow correctly. I think the first test surprised him as we watched the substance slide down his throat and some trickle into his lungs. However, he coughed immediately which is the correct  response which we all have when we aspirate.  They gave him a few more consistencies and he eventually swallowed them. It took him about 3 swallows before he got the contents to move down his throat.  The contents seemed to just sit in his throat. Dean’s swallow has become weak after having no food by mouth for 95 days. I’ll be working on strengthening and stimulating his swallow over the next few weeks in hopes he will eat soon. The therapist set goals but I see Dean’s potential and set my own goals for him. The transfer has been finalized and our car is completely packed with our belongings for our big trip tomorrow.

(Dean took this picture of Tower Falls during one of his trips.)

Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
um pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Other Entries