Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy 1 Year Stomaversarry to Ryan!

Can you believe that??  It has been 365 days since Ryan received his ostomy.  Just wow.

 This crazy, unpredictable, incredible, maddening (at times), glorious, complicated, awkward, life-saving, blessed ostomy is praise-worthy.

We are beyond grateful for what his ostomy has given back to him.  His life and health have been restored by rerouting his small intestines into a discrete, sanitary little bag so that his large intestine can have a break and heal.

Dang it's just so neat.

It hasn't all been daisies and butterflies with this thing.  Heck no!  There were many a 2 am bag changes, leaks, insecurities, and tears shed on both parts.

But God is good and has helped us navigate this last year with Ryan's new appendage or as he calls it, his "poop bag".  Ugh I hate it when he calls it that!  ;)

Let me just brag on Ryan for a minute and share with you that his ostomy has not held him back for even a minute.

Ryan on a recent bike ride.  Stud!

He works full time, hikes, shovels blizzard snow, hot tubs, four wheels, swims, mountain bikes, road bikes, snow shoes, dog sleds, greets at church, works on house projects, plays disc golf, goes paint balling, loves and helps his friends, spends time with family, and lives his life.

We are celebrating today!  That's all there is to it.  Because one of the greatest gifts of our lives came in the form of a body altering, life altering surgery we would have mistaken for a burden had Jesus not helped us to know better...

That's so like him.  Jesus: vision alter-er and purpose giver... for all things.  

Look among the nations, and see;
    wonder and be astounded.

For I am doing a work in your days

    that you would not believe if told.


Habakkuk 1:5

Monday, July 29, 2013

Trust = Safety


The fear of man lays a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

Proverbs 29:25


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cirque du Soleil and Ostomies

The huge tents!  We were getting so excited even outside! 

Yesterday was a BIG celebration for my brave husband!  We celebrated his 1st Stomaversarry at Cirque du Soleil!!

First of all Cirque du Soleil is so unique and entertaining.  The things these performers could do with their bodies and strength and all while spinning in the air or whatever was mind blowing!  Seriously I was afraid some one's spine was going to snap the whole time because of their bendy-ness, ha!

 Pre-show popcorn

Second of all, can you believe that Ryan has had his ostomy for one full year?  Gosh it is so incredible.  We have had so many reflective moments this week about where he was in 2012, and how far he's come.  

This time last year he was just getting checked into the hospital for his 4th and 5th surgeries and weighed only 144 lbs.  He is probably closer to 190 lbs today so you can see why that's a big deal!  He was just so sick and it's a joy to my heart to see his health now.

Would he rather not have the ostomy and be healthy?  Sure!  But since it's his reality we will be grateful for it and brag about the life it has given him back.  

My sister Linny, my mom, Ryan, and my in-laws Yvonne and George all came to celebrate 

So anyway dude got SPOILED rotten yesterday.  My mom bought him popcorn, his parents bought him M & M's, he had great seats at this show and then he got even more spoiled rotten with dinner and dessert.

But it was a fitting celebration for my man who has been persevering, faithful, vulnerable, and experienced such hardship because of Crohn's.  I am proud of you, love!

Ryan looks like a ladies man here 

Oh and P.S. we rocked the light rail downtown from Golden.  It was SO fun!  I would definitely recommend riding it somewhere for a fun date or afternoon.  That sounds so ridiculous but I liked it a lot :)


Post show we headed to downtown Denver for dinner on 16th St mall.  Yum!

Not totally sure what's happening here.  So much Bad A in one picture... 

Deliciousness galore! 

These three told a guy on the mall that they were models.  And I got the privilege of taking this sketchy picture... 

My mom wants you to know that she knows "how to do the photo-bomb" and this is her proving it.  Sort of. 

Dessert was Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  We had peanut butter cups and peanut butter fingers but this stuff looked amazing too! 


A really special day with special people to celebrate Ryan Decker.  What a stud!

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14

Friday, July 26, 2013

Navigation

A busy week this week!

We've found ourselves navigating marriage in very new ways these post-recovery Crohn's days.  Though it's often not very pretty all I know is that I am so blessed to be married to the one and only Ryan John Decker.

Our minds and hearts are still wrapping around all this chronic illness business and we will most definitely share when we have clarity; if only for the sake of someone learning from our mistakes.  But for now, as mentioned here, there is just so much no one tells you about the messy realities of chronic illness.

There are unanticipated emotions, traumas, marriage effects, and personal battles still to be had once the physical healing is conquered.  It's complicated.  You think the healing is under control, but the growth is really just starting.  The really hard work hasn't even started yet.

Your marriage is under fire during surgeries and chronic illness and medical crisis.  There is nothing healthy or helpful about such a long season of abnormal and scary. All I know is I'm a sinner and really grateful for a gracious husband who is patient with my inabilities.  And we are both grateful for a God who won't let us drown but will bring redemption and hope.

On a few less heavy notes...

I finished up my last pre-req for Nursing School on Wednesday!  It feels so freeing to be done after 8 weeks of hard tests and material.  The official countdown now is 65 days until I become a real live Nursing School student.  Wahoo!!

As for Ryan, he has worked until about 7:00 pm every night this week.  He is writing the solar panel manual for a new water treatment system that HWI has been developing.  How cool is that?   Now communities lacking electricity have options for cleaning their water.  And no electricity source constitutes A LOT of the world!

 Can you imagine not having electricity?  Or clean, drinkable water?  No, me neither.  It's so encouraging to see Ryan being a part of getting people clean, safe water and thereby the gospel.

Next on the agenda, there is a new obsession that I have to share with you:  freezer crockpot cooking.  Um, yes.  It is the greatest most beautiful of inventions.

iPad quality but you get the idea!  There lies all the glorious goodies waiting to be enjoyed

In honor of school staring soon I am trying to get our life organized to make this fall easier.  One way is to stock our freezer totally full of meals that just need to be defrosted and thrown in the crockpot.  

So far in our freezer is vegetable minestrone, vegetarian stuffed peppers, loaded vegetarian chili, garlic lime chicken, taco soup, veggie breakfast burritos, and chocolate chip zucchini bread.  I am hoping this preparation makes our meal planning smoother and stress levels lower when studying is full swing for me.

I label each bag with a permanent marker, writing what else I need to add.  And I forgot to write down the cook time on this bag!  Probably should also put the date that I froze it too.

Finally, lets chat about gardening.

It has to be the single greatest thing on the planet besides Jesus and husbands and freezer crockpot cooking.  And coffee.  And probably a few other things.

For about a $1 you get a big pack of seeds throw them in the ground and get produce.  Hallelujah!  Vegetables gardens are like Earth jewelry.  

So far this week the aforementioned blessed garden has birthed us the makings of loaded zucchini/squash lasagna, fresh basil pesto, raspberry smoothies, mint tea, and a few onions for random recipes.  I can't believe how much we get and the process is so fun!

Gardening for President!

This is just 2 days worth of picking and I used up 2 zucchinis and 1 other squash yesterday!

That should be all for now everyone.  Tomorrow we are going to celebrate Ryan's 1st Stomaversarry at a surprise event in downtown.  He's had has ostomy for one year already and we need to party to commemorate his bravery and legit-ness.

Hope your weekend is spectacular as well!

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with allyour heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flinging Religion

"Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ."

-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

This devotional has my heart thinking and my walk challenged.  Such a rich, needed way to start off the morning.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Praise. Reflect. Live.

Happy Sunday to all!

This week has been full of reflection and life for us.  

I am finishing up my last pre-req on Wednesday.  ZING!! My last final for 2 months and then the mother load!  I start school on September 30th 2013 which is 364 days after I began my very first pre-req for Nursing School.  Not bad progress for 1 year eh?

Ryan has been crazy busy at work.  In his new position he has been balancing new and old partnerships, e-mails, meetings, and international conference calls.  As an engineer he is writing a manual for the solar powered system they just launched. Busy busy man!

Plus my man biked 5/5 days to work last week.  Dang right??


On top of that we have been getting the office set up, doing slow yard work, avoiding painting, and picking crazy amounts of produce from the garden.

No joke, on the counter right now we have beets, onions, basil, peppermint, zucchinis, squash, and raspberries.  And eggs!  My heart leapeth for joy!


All I can say is that this season is the BEST!  The greatest.

This exact time last year Ryan was suffering his way tortuous MRI and CT scan after drinking two enormous barium dyes.  When you are already down 40 lbs and slowing starving to death from fissures and fistulas in your intestines, the last thing you want is to drink strawberry death flavored dye.

Though this can sometimes be a poignant, time of year for us, it also evokes many other things like gratefulness, recognition of growth, and acceptance .  In late July 2012, Ryan was just days from being admitted to the hospital and getting his ostomy.  It is a really hard time to reflect on but also a time we are SO grateful for because his health was turned around by that surgery.

I know this coming week will be a slew of "Remember when's?"  and "Thank Jesus for's..."  

We have so much to be grateful for.  Our experiences have taught us that the prosperity gospel is total bull crap and that to walk and not faint is of the highest joys to the Lord's heart for us.

Praising this week.  Reflecting this week.  Living this week.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:12


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Mantel Redo

I totally forgot to share our mantel makeover!  Ryan and Matt got into work mode a few months ago and rocked out a new fireplace mantel for us.

To say I wasn't a fan of the orange-y, laminate shelf on our fireplace before would be a gross understatement.  It was fugly!  The length was too long and totally fake looking.  Yuck!

What I really wanted was a rugged, barn wood beam that was deeply stained and much more of a statement in the room.  And that is what my man gave me!

He did a phenomenal job and on a super tight budget too.  Nice work husband!

Before:

After:

Before:

After:

Before:

After:


Monday, July 15, 2013

Gardens and What No One Tells You

It's Monday!  It has taken me FOREVER to get this post up mainly because my computer was being a little wiener and not working.  But my techie husband found a solution that didn't cost $500 and I am grateful for his super smart brain.
So I'm back with pictures and updates yo!

Several items for you today...some deep.  Some not so much.  Enjoy.

#1 School is in full swing with only 4 days of class left!  A summer class is far more rigorous than the regular semester, but I really like it and the preparation it's giving me for intense Nursing School quarters.  Last week I took a test on the digestive systems/metabolism/urinary system; all I know is the Lord did a MEGA sweet job designing our bodies.

Random picture of or FIRST EGG!!  Celebrations were had at the Decker household this fine day.

#2  I missed my man while he was away 2 weeks ago.   Enough said.  Ok, I'll say a little more.  There are some things no one tells you once your husband has been chronically, scary ill for almost a whole year...

Like how you'll ache when he is gone for the first time...
or the ways you'll hope he is prepared for the unexpected on his own with a new ostomy...
or how you'll pray like your life depends on it because you can't do anything else for him when he's 5,000 miles away.... 

There is a lot no one tells you about recovery from a health crisis. A LOT.

 For weeks and months (years?) there will continue to wage an  emotional, mental, and spiritual battle although the body gets stronger.  We have seen Ryan struggle with fears, post traumatic stresses, and the scary realization that he is not in control.  I have intensely battled fears and insecurities of my own and been unsure of how to support Ryan's inner battle.  We are wading our way through it with excellent counsel and are steadily seeing growth.

But it helps to be honest here so that anyone else who faces this know it is normal and together we can let Jesus be our way.

Basically, Crohn's and chronic illness never stops shaking us up and sending up back to the foot of the Cross.

#3.  On a more joyful note...only 76 days until Nursing School!

#4.  We have been working hard most night of the week and our weekend to get the backyard looking more presentable.  Ryan built a beautiful cedar fence around my garden beds to keep the chickens out.

Lesson learned: chickens are ninjas
Is that Pinterest worthy or what?  I LOVE the cedar paneling.  It's so inviting.

We planted vines on trellises along the side of our garage, and the entire deck and back of our house are getting a fresh coat of paint.  Plus we have some outdoor curtains going up and a paver patio with fire pit going in.  Woo!

It is seriously starting to look SO good out back.  A very peaceful place to hang out in the evenings and spot to host later this summer and into the fall.

Look, I even have a little gate!  I swoon over this garden.

#5.  My garden is exploding.  I have dozens of zucchinis and squash blooming, raspberries turning red, the basil is on steroids or something, and my tomatoes and beets are really starting to get big.  Gardening is the greatest thing can think of.  There is no thrill like seeing real live produce in your backyard--I seriously am addicted.

The onions are getting bigger, the beets are recovering from their chicken attack and there is LOTS of basil, rosemary and other veggies coming in!

The biggest summer squash out there at the moment.  I think it's ready to be picked and grilled soon!

 I DIE of excitement over the raspberries.  Seriously!  My blackberries are lagging but that doesn't dampen my thrill for these plumpy, red guys

#6.  In honor of Nursing School starting soon (see #3) we have finally gotten our home office into working order.  Once the curtains are up and a few things mounted on the walls I'll share pictures here.

I LOVE the designated space for studying.  And my brain seriously lags (circadian rhythms?) form 1:00-3:00 pm everyday, so if I can get in the zone in my new space with some coffee, I feel more productive.  Do you have a "low point" during the day?  Or is it just me?

#7.  Um, that's it!  I am still recovering from the cold but verrrry slowly getting better.  How did my immuno-suppressed husband manage to dodge this virus?

The Lord.  Duh.

Ok, let's end on this note shall we?  It's a verse I'm digging this week.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

Saturday, July 13, 2013

We Are Alive

I really don't enjoy being computer less. First world problem, I know.  But blogging = bad news on an ipad.  I just can't figure it all out and the touch keyboard hates my fingers!

Well anyway, this is just a quick post to say I am dying to put up pictures of our last week and fill you in on our lives but it will have to wait.  

 1+ week of zero blogging just isn't how I normally roll but ipad blogging takes me approximately 12.4763 times longer.  No thanks.

For now it's sufficient to tell you that #1 our chickens are finally laying eggs!  #2 I have been knocked down flat by a super mean cold which Ryan somehow bypassed even with his compromised immune system. And #3 only 78 days until nursing school!

There are lot of other good things happening and some processing about life topics but those will have to wait.  Today feels like a win because I made I out of bed, ate the first raspberry from our garden and have a mega sweet husband getting me healthy again!

Don't worry this is an old photo.  My raspberry this morning was much riper and bigger. Win!!

Happy Saturday.  Soak it in!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Loooong Week, Good Week

Hello!  One week of no posts feels like forever to me.  Well #1 I have been really busy and #2 Ryan Decker has been out of the country which I didn't want blared on here and any post I would have written probably would have covered that little fact.

But he comes home in a few hours so I'm feeling safe to share now :)

So Ry has been doing some very smart, meaningful, cool engineering work down in the Dominican Republic this week.  Mainly installing a water system for a community but I'm not privy on all the details just yet.  More to come!

I am soooo insanely proud of his brave heart to go and the faithfulness he displayed by saying "Yes!" to Jesus asking this of him. Seriously this trip is scary because he's never traveled internationally with an ostomy, he is still figuring out his body's changes now post-op, and it is a risk to be out of your comfort zone.  I feel inspired by him!

For crying out loud this time last year he didn't even have his ostomy yet and it's only been 8 months since his last major surgery. So in my books that is quick turn around to be out of the country working! Go husband!

As for me this week has been full, though hard when I missed my man.  Overall a really life giving week with people as well as getting plenty of recharge time.

There have been birthday parties, obscenely late dinner dates in the highlands (I am not cool enough to normally still be sipping wine at 10:15 pm on a chic restaurant patio), pedicures with a generous mama, working my buns off, yoga, class/lab, studying at Panera, and of course yard/house work.  A really sweet week to aid my sad heart while Ryan was away :)

Upon Ryan's anticipated return we have a wedding Saturday, time at our church, and as much time together as possible!! Heck yes.

What have you been up to?  Fill us in!  Also, this post was pain stakingly written on the resident iPad...(not my favorite piece of technology ever invented but alas, that is CLEARLY a first world problem.)

...because my computer screen is randomly wigging out. Any thoughts on getting it replaced without it costing my first born child?  

Just needed to excuse an crazy/poor/inappropriate autocorrects or grammar...

Much thanks.





Monday, July 1, 2013

An Everlasting Rock



This was the unique, calming sunset from our backyard on Saturday evening.  It looked like a painting and cast a golden glow over everything.  God is so creative and artistic!

I hope your Monday starts your week off in a good pace and you accomplish so much today!  That's my hope for today anyway :)

I'll leave you with the verse I'm leaning on today...

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Isaiah 26:4

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