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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to Normal... Not

I've experienced the craziest, most pain-filled, most joy-soaked week in my life. It all started with stabbing pain in my chest Saturday at 4 AM. I couldn't breathe well and the pain spread to my shoulders and back, up my neck and into my head. I finally gave up my stubbornness and woke my husband. Then I told him I was going back to sleep.

He insisted we go to the ER.

One of the ICU nurses said if he hadn't forced me to go, I likely wouldn't have woken up the next day.

Long story short, I had another attack just as they were releasing me from the ER that was so much worse than the first. My husband was terrified. I would have been if I could have thought of anything else but the pain.

They sent me for a CT scan that a doctor said was lit up like a Christmas tree with blood clots in my lungs in all four quadrants. No wonder I couldn't breathe. Pulmonary embolism was the diagnosis that earned me a trip to the ICU.

When the pain finally subsided, my kids were terrified along with my husband. So was I. But instead of giving in to fear, my youngest stuck by my side and made me get well cards. She's still making me cards today.

My husband and older two daughters decided to pray instead of worry. My girls prayed with the families of two other ICU patients and encouraged them. Later Saturday night, David heard a code blue in the ICU and noticed a woman crying outside a room near mine. He ended up praying with her when the doctor came out to say her husband had passed away. Had David not been there, she'd have faced that news alone. When the doctor told her of her husband's death, she praised God for her husband's life and the time they had with him. I want to live like that. Please pray for Donna and her two children (10 and 12). God is holding them, but prayer makes a difference that defies explanation.

I know that from experience. Prayers carried us through a long day in the ER, a frightening stay in the ICU, and enabled us to see so many God moments.

In addition to the privilege of praying and watching my family share God's love with strangers, another God touched moment happened on Saturday afternoon in the ICU. My youngest daughter wouldn't leave my side the whole time she was there. But she was freezing. One of the ICU nurses warmed up a blanket, wrapped it around her, and sat her back on my bed. She wasn't even old enough to visit the ICU, but the nurse not only allowed all three of my girls to be with me but took the time to make sure they were comforted and cared for.

The next day, Sunday, I had a second scan done and the doctors were shocked to see my lungs were clear. Their only explanation was that the first CT scan was wrong. My family and I know better. We know God choose to heal me. I went home the next day.

I went from almost dying Saturday morning because of a pulmonary embolism to walking out of the hospital Monday with no blood clots at all. I'm home and so thankful for another day with my precious family.

At the same time my heart is heavy for Donna and her family. Even as we pray comfort for them in their huge loss, I can't forget how she choose to praise God during one of the most difficult and painful moments of her life.

I don't know why God healed me and took Donna's husband home. What I do know is Donna believes God is good. How can I not agree?

Life in my home is back to "normal," and yet it's not. We're keenly aware that my family could be going through what Donna's family is. We won't waste the gift of another day.

Every pain I've struggled with since coming home, another ER visit with no answers, and the normal squabbles of family life remind me that this world is not my home. Even so, each day is a miracle. Each breath is a gift. Thank You God!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Title Help and Something for You

I'm doing a new thing today and praying it will spark some ideas from you creative geniuses out there. Yes, I'm talking to you. ;-)

I found out yesterday I need two new titles for my Mennonite Romantic Suspense books due out in April and October of 2012. So, I'm asking for your help.

I'll post the story blurbs with original titles. The awesome publishing team at Harvest House loved the titles but heard from some bookstore accounts that the titles are overused in the marketplace, so we need something fresh.

Here's where you come in.... please give the information below some prayer and thought and start listing out your title ideas. If I send your title suggestions to my publisher and they pick yours, your name will appear in the acknowledgements with my eternal gratitude and you'll receive a signed copy of the first book when it releases.

Sound good?

Here's a little about the stories:

In Plain Sight

A female police officer’s assistance to a Mennonite runaway forces her into the middle of an escalating battle between two communities and the big city violence she left behind.

Nowhere to Run

Hiding among the Mennonite community fails to protect a female police officer and places everyone she loves in the crosshairs of a dangerous stalker.

I can't wait to see your creative genius! Thanks so much for helping.
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