Thursday, April 27, 2017

When I Said I Do...


In all things timing is everything.  It is divine appointment.  As a child of the Risen King, I’m humbled daily at His grace and timing.  He and He alone has perfectly wonderful handiwork and timing! 

There are moments in my life where I literally wrecked into a tree – the biggest tree in the forest but somehow I found that one tree and wrecked right into it.  Other moments in my life I have sat under that tree enjoying the blessed life and the view.  This season of life is under the tree.  It is under the protection of the Living Father in heaven.  It is beautiful and blessed.

As you may well know, Luke and I were married in 1999.  It was a spur of the moment decision (story here).  It had its highs and lows and was very short lived.  In that time something was planted in us that we really didn’t understand until May of 2016.  In all things and all seasons life comes full circle.  No matter what you do – right or wrong, left or right – God brings back to you what He had for you since the beginning. 
 



As I previously shared the beginning of my new life with Luke, emotions were high and love was woken quickly (story is here).  In late summer last year we started a long process of Luke reinstating his legal rights and obligations to our daughter Haley.  This was a very long and drawn out process as these things are difficult to maneuver around – specifically when a biological parent returns after allowing a child to be adopted (this whole post will come at a later date).  Luke and I could not wait to get Haley renamed as Haley Day – for her and him to have that connection even on paper.  When I say these 2 are like peas and carrots – it pales into comparison to the big picture. 

  



January of this year Luke and I seriously talked about marriage.  We had already talked about when and where – how and place – but life was so busy there was no time to make definite plans.  For Christmas Luke surprised me and took the diamond from our original engagement ring and had it reset into a new setting with a new promise, “to love me wholly and without condition the way a husband loves a wife.”  When I realized he had done that and recommitted himself to me in that way the deepest parts of my soul were immediately filled up.  I could not wait to be his wife.  Our favorite saying is, “I just melted into a puddle”. 

Over the next couple of months we talked about our wedding.  We talked about where to have it and who to invite.  Ironically, through our attorney’s for Haley, we were encouraged to just plunge into the marriage – that our love was something everyone around us could see and feel.  So, we took that advice!

Recently I recovered from surgery…you can read that here.  Once we returned from the beach during my recovery, we did it – we got married.  We called a close family friend that we recently met through Haley’s adoption.  This man has been a pillar in getting our family back on track.  He has encouraged us and loved us.  He has listened and poured into us in all ways a mentor and friend can.  He has cheered us on and given us hope.  He has inspired us and spoke blessings over us.  On March 23, 2017, he met us at the football stadium in Opp Alabama and married us.  He stood before us as we exchanged vows, smiling and praising God with us for this second chance. 

Luke and I laughed at ourselves.  This time before we actually married I called momma to tell her.  She was also our biggest cheerleader.  My baby sister called me also over the moon for us and loved us and encouraged us!  We shared with the kids that we were going to have a ceremony with them and their little brother as soon as we had him for spring break and they were all so very excited. 

While standing in that stadium Wednesday, March 23rd, the excitement and intimacy was so surreal.  The sun was bright – it was neither hot nor cold.  As we held hands in front of Mr. McGuire our hands trembled in each other’s – our eyes watered – our voices became shaky – our emotions flowed out of us with the biggest smiles on our faces.  As we said our vows, the inside of our bodies exploded in happiness and completeness – in all things the world was right!

This day is wedding day – 3.23.2017

 


 
On April 9th, our baby boy was now with us.  We spent the whole weekend at the beach celebrating.  He would turn 8 on April 20th.  I’ll write another post about mine and his birthday’s and spring break.  Sunday, April 9th we woke up early and began the day getting ready.  The dresses were bought, the shirts and shoes were ready – a blue thing, a new thing and an old thing was in tow.  An intimate wedding celebration of just Lucas and I with our 3 kids was celebrated. 

We both took time to prepare our own words and vows.  Since this is my blog, I’ll share my vows.  Luke will soon allow me to start writing his story – so be sure to stay tuned!!  This day could not have been more perfect.  The wind didn’t blow too hard – the kids woke up happy and ready – the waves were calm – the beach visitors cheered for us and celebrated with us.  We danced.  We laughed.  We loved.  We united.  We cheered.  We kissed.  We celebrated.  We cried.  We hugged.  We made memories.  We united.  We committed.  We came together as forever the Days #4everthedays .

One of the best moments for me was when my oldest son walked me down the isle.  He is so handsome, loving and kind.  His spirit is meek and his words are few but his heart is spot on.  He came to me and said, “mom, he’s (Luke) waiting for you.  I’m so happy for you and love you so much.  Oh, and he’s so nervous!”  As I fought tears I told him how much I loved him too and we laughed the whole way down the isle – he hugged me and gave me away.

 

Getting ready with my only daughter was extra special.  She is by far so beautiful and full of life.  She is full of words and her heart is as big as the ocean.  She helped me get dressed and told me I was beautiful. She had no hesitation in her excitement of her dad and mom being one again.  In these pictures her beauty and her love shines through – after all, she is the house that held our love all these years!

 


Watching baby boy Hunter stand with his dad waiting on me to take Luke’s hand was a precious moment.  He smiled at me and said “I’ve never been in a wedding before.”  I giggled and told him how handsome he looked.  When it was time to dance and take pictures he came up to me and hugged me again – he admitted he never danced with a girl before and I told him I’d dance with him anytime – it was important for a boy to know how to dance.  He laughed and asked, “is that why my dad dances with you all the time?” 

 


The day was beautiful and perfect.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Before the pictures, here are my vows to my husband, William Lucas Day
 

Lucas,

You are an answer to a prayer I forgot how to pray.  You have been a light to remind me that God still loves me and you help to show me that every day. And the truth is, I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back.  I love you William Lucas Day and I’ll love you tomorrow and every day after that!

When I look into your crystal blue eyes I lose myself.  I feel your heart.  I can hear your thought.  I am thrilled, blessed and excited that you are now a forever part of my daily life.  It just makes sense in every single thought, plan, desire and way.  To say I love you seems so inadequate.  But I know that I was created to love you and be loved by you!

Being in love with you makes sense.   It brings joy, happiness, peace, contentment and sound mind.  It is beautiful and perfect.  Being in love with you is more than just the simple I love or I miss you – it is fulfilling, breathtaking, perfect, true, pure and forever.  It is the light in the morning and the goodnight’s rest each night.  It is the reason to smile and laugh.  It is the tears of joy and contentment.

I often find myself caught in thoughts.  Those thoughts are no longer silent, they speak.  They speak of love and life – happiness and joy.  They speak perfect and wonderful – together and forever.  They speak lifetime and eternity.  The speak Rachel and Lucas.

To know you is to love you.  To touch you is to desire you.  To hug you is to feel your soul.  To kiss you is to see your heart.

You are my voice of reason and my purpose for life.  You are my sounding board and my forever good morning.  You are my protector and life partner. 

You have opened a piece of me that I didn’t know existed.  I used to pray for a Christ-like love from a husband.  I had given up on that prayer.  The day you walked back into our lives, that piece of me began to wake up.  I can’t say the moment you hugged me the first time in 16 years I felt it, but it began to grow.  My promise to you long ago was to make sure Haley knew you loved her, and deep down I told myself that you loved me too.  Each day as our daughter grew, I saw you.  With each joke, smile, good day and bad day – I was able to love you.  Our daughter is the best parts of both of us.  Beautiful, hardheaded, vibrant, cherished, loving, giving, outgoing, a fighter, a lover, caring, daring and the perfect creation of me and you.  She is the house that was built to bring us here to this day, for this moment to cherish for the rest of our lives.  Her life has been the house for the love that we didn’t realize we had 17 years ago.  I can’t thank you or God enough for her.

Thank you for being the daddy Haley needs.  In her eyes, you are perfect.  A little rough around the edges, completely hilarious but she would have you no other way.  You are a completion of her inner being.    You love her just the way she is – and as much as I hate to admit it, she is also a daddy’s girl.  Her eyes light up when she talks about you.  You are her bandage wrapper and boo-boo fixer, her foot rubber and her bag of happiness wrapped up in jokes.  Her love for you is deep, pure, whole and cherished.  You are her hero and soundboard.  You are her today and tomorrow.  You are the gauge for her finding a man to love her wholly.

Our sons, Chandler and Hunter are very blessed to have a man like you to show them how to love a woman, how to fight and stand up for what is right, how to forgive others and love Jesus.  Chandler loves the time and long talks the two of you share.  He admires your inner strength and your total truth in all things.  He loves your love for me and our family.  Hunter loves your love for him.  He knows that no matter what, daddy is going to make everything better.  You pouring into them, loving them, and believing in who they are and what they were created to be is so humbling and breathtaking.  It is an honor to be your wife and their mom.

I love you more.  More today than yesterday – more tomorrow than today – more than any argument or disagreement– more than sickness – more than the world around us – more than sleeping late on the weekends – more than dove dark chocolate or even birthday cake – more than the words in the dictionary.  I love the way you look at me.  I love the way you hold me.  I love the way you say my name.  I love the way you believe in me.  I love the way you reassure me.  I love the way you are patient with me.  I love the way you grab my hand when I’m happy and when I’m sad.  I love the way you kiss me.  I love the way you see my soul.  I love the way you cheer me on. I love the way you hug me.  I love the way you tell me I’m beautiful.  I love the way you gently rub my face.  I love the simple gestures you do for me.  I love the way you make my coffee.  I love the way you cheer with me on the sidelines of a ballgame.  I love how you love our children.  I love that you stand up for us.  I love the way you talk about the kids.  I love the way you encourage the kids.  I love the way you are a dad.  I love how we debate but never fight.  I love that you came back.  I love that you love me and most importantly, I love the way you love me.  William Lucas, I am in love with you and I love you more than the waves in the ocean, and I’ll always love you more. 

Thank you for loving me and cherishing me.  Thank you for picking me up and putting me back together.  Thank you for helping me realize my worth as a woman.  Thank you for thinking I’m worth more and thank you for giving me your love – a love that is pure and unwavering, a love that is perfect and filling, a love that never gives doubt or hurt, a love that grows and wants to love me more tomorrow than today!

You've taught me that the honesty of a man starts within himself. You have shown me selfless love with no conditions. A love I've never known. A fairytale kind of love. A love where your only job is to do for the other, and this in turn will deliver the same feeling of satisfaction within.  No one can hold a candle to the love and happiness you have brought into my life. 

You took my soul with just one touch.  Loving you is an honor and something I cherish from the depth of my soul.  In you I have found the one my soul loves.  That’s exactly why I love you, because you love me.

I want to make you proud each and every single day.  Proud to be my husband, the mother of your children and the love of your life.  I want to make you proud of yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. 

So, today and forever I choose you.  I choose your love,  I choose your name.  I choose your side to stand beside.  I choose your forever.  I choose your daily dose of laughter.  I choose your crazy jokes.  I choose your crazy and sane.  I choose your happiness, good days and bad days.  I choose your words meant only for me.  I choose your simple gestures and beautiful flowers.   I choose your forever and always.  I choose your daily cup of coffee.  I choose your here and now, tomorrow and every day after that.  I choose you in sickness and health.  I choose your hand to hold and your back to rub.  I choose your belief in me and in us. I choose you for better or worse. I choose your daily hugs and countless kisses.  I choose your love that has no condition.  I choose you.  I, Rachel Elizabeth, promise to love you patiently, wholly, kindly, without envy or self-pride.  I promise to cherish you, speak to you in love, rejoice with you and love you in truth.  I promise to speak life into you daily.  I promise to daily love you with no condition.  I promise and vow to bear all things, believe in us always, pray for you daily, hope with you, enjoy life with you and endure all things with you.  I promise to kiss you good morning with each sunrise and kiss you goodnight with each sunset.  I promise to love you always and forever – from now until eternity with my whole heart, body and soul.

Vowing to love you for the rest of my life,

Your Wife,

Rachel Elizabeth Day

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


2017 Ear Surgery


As someone who has had a good deal of physical sickness in my life the Lord blesses me each time. 

 

This past year I struggled with frequent headaches and vertigo that was almost unbearable some days.  I was also keenly aware that I was not hearing so well.  My hearing has never been great – but I had noticed a huge difference in not hearing normally.  My biggest struggle was in a “loud” place.  All other sensors would go into overload due to the excessive noise that I couldn’t decipher through.  In crowds the million conversations made me not able to hear what the person in front of me was saying.  In a setting where drums were played the literal hair on the back of my neck would cause a horrible headache due to my eardrum vibrating but not being able to hear the sound.

 

The ENT doctor, as awesome and wonderful as they are, are my least favorite doctor.  I’d rather get my teeth cleaned and visit my OBGYN before the ENT any day of the year!  They take long skinny metal rods and put them in the ear.  They use said rods to poke around inside of the ear and remove debris.  They also have vacuums.  They are loud and extremely scary – especially when they vacuum the physical eardrum.  They also have picks.  Yes, the kind that is required to scrape the inside of something – it just makes one cringe at the thought.  It’s also true that ENT doctors have amazingly steady hands. 

 

Dr. Gannon at Dothan ENT has great bedside manner.  At my first appointment he did a little “looking and poking around”.  He noted that my eardrum didn’t look great and was retracted.  He began to prepare me for the possibility of “Menier’s Disease”.  He gave me some drops to use and sent me home.  I would return 2 weeks later for a hearing test and to look better at the drum.  At this appointment it was noted that I had lost 10 decibels of hearing in both ears in a matter of 8 years…not a good report at all. 

 

I was extremely distraught over the news.  To not hear in the near future overwhelmed me.  There is something about hearing your children laugh and express their feelings verbally.  The thought of that literally shook me.  And so, I began praying that God would restore my hearing.  I was referred that day to Dr. Rogers in Birmingham.

 

The next week I met with Dr. Rogers.  He, like Dr. Gannon, took out all the above referenced tools and began, in  his words, “looking and poking around”.  During these “looking and poking around” sessions, I’m usually death gripped on the arm of the chair with my eyes clinched shut.  With each breath I am reminded by the doctor to “breathe” and that “I’m not pulling your eardrum out, it just feels like that”.  Poor Luke, I had the death grip on his hand also – and as big as  his hands are, I am always somehow able to squeeze them hard enough he compliments my grip. HA!

 

At that appointment an MRI was scheduled.  The MRI showed 2 huge issues.  Dr. Rogers walked back in and wouldn’t sit – with his tall thin frame he leaned against wall.  “Well, Rachel, we have an issue…a rather serious issue” and with that he told me the following.  #1 – there was a large infection in my skull, specifically in the mastoid bone.  #2 – there was a cytoma that appeared to be covering the prosthesis ear bone that was put in 8 years earlier.  You need surgery as soon as we can get you on the schedule.  He explained that part of the reason I struggled with energy and not feeling well was simply because I had a sick head.  HAHAHAHA!

 

Of course, we had this long talk about “not overdoing it” and “staying out of the gym” and “resting as much as possible”.  Some doctors crack me up – they start those conversations much like this… “So, tell me, are you as active as you look?  I see you have in shape shoulders and you look like you work out.”  I typically respond, “is there any other way to be?  Of course I’m very active.”  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a blow to the spirit when you are told you have to stop doing that in order to heal.  But, like I tell my clients often – eating well will keep you looking great because what you look like is 70% what you eat and 30% what you do – so that self-pep-talk went on for 6 weeks!

 

Surgery was set for March 10th and recovery would be up to 5 weeks.  With that Luke and I drove to Birmingham where we spent the night before my surgery.  I had to be at the surgery center by 5:00 am.  Hello my usual 4:15am wake up call.  It was a cool morning and my nerves were in check.

 

Upon check-in I was called back to get weighed and vitals registered.  I weighed in at 64.4 kilograms.  I’ve never understood why Americans want to use pounds in lieu of kilograms…64.4 sounds wayyyyy better than 142.0 pounds!  Anyway, my heart rate was excellent and my blood pressure was “amazing”.  Healthy as a horse and the nurses and doctors complimented it.

 

As they read the name of procedure, I asked if they would write it for me.  The name of my procedure is right here.  Yeah, exactly!

 



 

Luke was so loving and supportive of me.  He held my hand the entire way.  They told us that this type of surgery would cause a good bit of sickness after surgery but they would give me as much anti-nausea medicine as they could.  He loved on me and hugged me, prayed with me and for me and watched them wheel me away.

 


My next memory was laying there with my eyes closed hearing the nurse say, “Rachel, open your eyes and smile for me.”  I could not for the life of me understand why she wanted me to smile for her – everything inside of my body was spinning and so heavy.  Of course I was non-responsive because at that moment the request was not more important that sleeping some more.  At one point I can hear voices and noises…my eyes however would not open.  I heard Luke, “baby, just smile, we need to see you smile.”  Of course, I’d do anything for that man – so I smiled.  With that the words of the nurse, “great her face is symmetrical.”    Ummmm…yeah, duh!  I didn’t realize until after surgery but the ear bone replacement and the cytoma was removed from around my facial nerves – and these nerves don’t typically get repaired if they are damaged in surgery.  Told you the doctors have delicate hands.

 
 
 
 


Dr. Rogers explained that the surgery was more intense than he originally thought.  He was 2 mm from my brain scraping infection (pseudomonas) and removing cysts.  He put in a new prosthetic ear bone, scraped infection, removed the cyst, built a new ear drum and packed the ear.  He said once I recovered I should feel 100% better!!
 
That same night my son would attend his senior prom.  Part of me was incredibly sad I couldn't be there to take pictures and help him get ready.  The other part of me was excited that he decided (last minute) to even go.  I received pictures from him throughout the night that made me cry and smile all at once.  Time be still.

 

 On this same night, our daughter Haley hit her very first out of the park home run!  Her whole life she has worked hard on getting that accomplishment and this night was the night it happened.
 

 

Recovery was very hard – I spent the first 6 days in the bed.  Every single thing spun constantly.  Luke would help me walk and sit up.  The ear, specifically the inner ear, is connected to every limb on the body.  I would have to hold my head to even sit up.  Turning my head was a chore.  Picking up anything heavy that pulls on the delts would kill my ear.    Luke came down with the flu that Wednesday and he was just as miserable as I was.  By day 12 post surgery, things were finally on the up!  I was feeling better and ready to get back into my full schedule – of course with no gym time. 

By day 10, depression was setting in due to my inability to just have energy and get going.  My wonderful love woke me up early and took me to the beach.  There is just something healing there.  With toes in the sand, the sun in the sky, my hand in his and riding shotgun - my body was finally starting to feel better.
 
 




 
 I am currently hearing so much better and will have another recheck in a few weeks.