Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Great Comebacks Award-Utah

I've mentioned this a few times here on the blog, but Ryan was the 2014 West Region winner of the Great Comebacks Award!

This is an organization started by ex-NFL Chargers kicker, Rolf Benirschke.  Rolf had an emergency ileostomy put up back in when we was still playing pro football and then went on to establish this amazing foundation that honors the stories and recoveries of people with ostomies and IBD.

Submit your story or your loved one's story here

Rolf and Ryan at dinner Wednesday evening.  These two are so awesome.

Convatec, the medical supply company sponsoring Great Comebacks, paid for Ryan and my mom to fly out to Utah last week for the awards ceremony.  I would have gone with him but I had a clinical rotation both days he was gone and it's a $600 fee to reschedule those.

Womp womp.

Anyway, my mom and him headed out to Salt Lake and met up with my sister and brother-in-law who live in Utah too.  I was SO blessed that he was surrounded by support and love at this special event.

They put him up in a beautiful hotel and spoiled him all weekend :)

Ryan gave two speeches; one at a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN) conference and another at an ostomy support group.  He received his beautiful award the first night and I have an awesome video my sister took for you to enjoy...

Ryan told me over and over how grateful he is for this new platform to mentor other men in the throws of ostomy surgery or navigating their way through IBD.  He plans to use this award and recognition to spread ostomy awareness, encourage others, and be a light in this unique community.

I love his passion and excitement to bring Jesus to an often hopeless and grim sphere of influence.  So cool!  There is always purpose if we allow God to work.

So a big thank you to Convatec, Rolf, and my sweet family for backing up Ryan at this conference and reminding him what a great comeback he has truly made!!

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ryan's First Half Marathon

So Ryan Decker ran his first half marathon Saturday morning.

The time isn't what's important but I have to brag on him and tell you he covered the 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 15 minutes with no breaks, no walking, and no stopping!!

WAHOO husband!!

This is a half way map we routed. He ran from 7th and Ford in Golden to 41st and Kipling in Wheat Ridge and back.  

I biked alongside him with water, power gels, and hopefully some moral support.  He seriously kept the best pace and powered through his one and one wall at mile 12.  Mile 11 and 12 were literally uphill the entire way and he said it took everything in him not to stop.


I will write more about this over at Reaching For Fringe, but dude got super dehydrated post-race.  People with ileostomies are at a very, very high risk for dehydration even without running 13 miles and pouring sweat out of their bodies.  That is because their large intestine is bypassed with the ileostomy.  Your large intestine is where your body absorbs the majority of your water and if it's not being used you have to drink significantly more water.

Anyway, we did our best to hydrate him but learned a very valuable lesson that his body needs special attention and major electrolytes before and after such a long run.  He got feverish, nauseous, flushed, and super sick Saturday afternoon.  After an entire jug of Pedialyte (more electrolytes that Gatorade, people!) he perked back up and recovered.

 But this half wasn't just a physical race. This run meant so much to both of us for several reasons.

Ryan looking so studly post-race

Background: Friday night and even Saturday morning before the run Ryan felt very attacked spiritually.  What we mean by that is satan really let loose lying to his mind and heart about inadequacies, tearing down his confidence, and basically just infiltrating him with self-doubt.  It was awful.

Once we realized what was happening we prayed and prayed and Ryan felt some relief.  We realize that the enemy would love nothing more than to keep Ryan from racing because this half marathon represented a FULL recovery and no more bondage to Crohn's.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, Ryan is BACK!  The hell of 2012 is behind him because we have put in so much hard work and time into rehabilitating Ryan in his body getting healthy and in his heart/mind regaining confidence and purpose.

Finishing this race was a true "suck it Crohn's" moment and signified to us that there is hope in chronic illness.  There is overcoming.  There is the ability to come back swinging and leave a legacy after such a horrific 2 year upset.

So our weekend was absolutely overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving.  It was a miracle to see my husband running with strength and confidence when he was once small and shattered in a hospital bed.  It was such a gift to hear him say out loud, "Thank you, Jesus" as he crossed the finish line because He is the strength of our hearts. 

Ryan is alive again, in so many ways....and for that we are thankFULL.

But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me.

Jeremiah 20:11

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter '14

Us at our church service this morning downtown-it was epic

He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.

Matthew 28:6

HAPPY EASTER!  We hope it has been a wonderful day of rejoicing that Jesus was fully God and fully man, went to the cross in our place for every mistake we'll ever make, and died so we could be in full, beautiful relationship with God.  

How could we not celebrate??  We are grateful today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Solomon 2:11-12

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wonderful Women and Water!

So we had a fun weekend!

We volunteered at the amazing Missional Women Conference representing Healing Waters.  It was such an honored opportunity!

Our set up and the awesome water filtration system to the right

The entire HWI representation was for women internationally!!  Yeah women!  Healing Waters is very soon going to pilot the new young women's curriculum in five communities in Latin America.  The curriculum is based on Proverbs 31, titled Clothed in Strength and Dignity.

HWI believes that women are the heartbeats of their communities and if we empower and educate women, we transform communities! 

So it was so appropriate that at this conference for women we were sharing about the needs and lives of other women around the world.  Such a gift!

Dang husband you look buff holding that water jug!

We even had an action experience where the woman attending the conference had to carry a 50 lb jug of water on a certain path to earn a water bottle prize.  It really opened up their eyes to the plights of people around the world who have to haul clean water for their families by hand each day.

Did you know the average woman in Bolivia will walk 3 miles per day to get clean water?  Insane right!  It is mind blowing that we have water at the turn of a tap or push of a button.

How neat!!! Check out www.HealingWaters.org/empowerWomen to join in on the movement!

Sweet friends-I've known and loved these ladies since college!  Myself, Hannah, and Byanka

This guy can explain every thing you ever wanted to know about water and development

We love getting to share about clean water, petitioning for women's empowerment and care, and being a part of this work.  Nothing is cooler!

For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.”

Mark 9:41

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Springtime Joy

What's up spring?!  We were literally SO bummed the other day when the weather reverted back to freezing cold, I think it was Monday??  We are spring/summer people!

 Since it's nice out we live on the back on the porch, bike, run, garden, yardwork, landscape, walk with Grumpies, and anything else we can do outside!  What have you been up to outside?

On my later mornings I have coffee on the rocking chairs out back and Ryan bikes his healthy butt to work every morning in the sunshine.  Praise Jesus!

  Do you remember the days when he couldn't even do a lap around the kitchen island from pain and weakness and all his ribs were sticking out?  

How overwhelmingly far we've come...

I was thinking about this blog and how the deeper thoughts or life lessons are a little on the lighter side lately.  There was SO much of that last year and the year before.  Struggles, challenges, hardship, etc.  And while we're still learning and growing it is nice to just record our daily adventures and see how good life is right now!

One thing I do want to remember is how I've been reading through scripture lately, and maybe it will encourage you too!

I pick one book of the Old Testament and one of the New Testament to work through simultaneously.  I read one chapter per day in each and after reading it several times and underlining/marking up what initially sticks out I ask these three questions:  

1.  Lord why did you bring this scripture to my attention today?
2.  What does it show me about your heart and character?
3.  How do you want me to apply it and take action today?

Awesome right?!  The wise Laura over at Missional Women suggested it and it's phenomenal.  It puts me in the scene of scripture and makes me responsible to not just read, but listen to God's voice and act.  

Try it out :)

Here are a few more things we've been up to...

Cardboard boat races!  We go to this every year.  The school Ryan graduated from, Colorado School of Mines, puts on this hilarious race where the participants can only use cardboard and duct tape.  The water is freezing and I secretly like when people sink, ha!

E-Days fireworks!  E is for "engineer".  This even is so special to us!  Our parents first met each other at these fireworks 5 years ago when we were dating.  We've got back every single year since!

This dude had great veins.  I started several IV's on his yesterday and not a peep of complaints!  Oh yeah, Nursing School just got real.

So these next few photos were my very last minute attempt to get decent, recent photos of us.  The Great Comeback committee needed some recent shots of our mugs for the award ceremonies and publications.  

So we obliged with this gorgeous shot...

JK we sent them a boring serious one...

DANG husband you are looking spectacular!

How can I not publish this picture?  Does Ryan not look like a dang stud here?  Yum.

So anywho, that is what's up party people!  I've got 50+ hours of studying, classes, clinicals, commuting, and labs to accomplish each week.  Pretty insane, no?  That's not even counting regular life.

I love the crap out of it but this quarter I'm in for a ride in terms of time management and seeing my people.  Oh well, God is good and we will figure it out.

Pray for Ryan's trip to Utah if you would that his speeches would go well, his flights would be safe, and that astounding purpose and connections related to Crohn's and ostomies would come of this trip.

Speaking of autoimmune diseases of the butt...check out Reaching For Fringe when you can...we've been publishing a lot lately and you'll see more product reviews, encouragement, and other goodies there in the new few weeks.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

Jude 1:20-21

Friday, April 4, 2014

April Snow

This was the view as I walked Grumps yesterday morning through Golden.  Stunning!

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Hosea 6:3

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hello April!

I have to admit, having time off from school is amazing!  As much as I love my program (438 days to graduation), I needed 2 weeks off after such an intense quarter.

Basically after this week, things really pick up for us over the next 3 months.  Like I mentioned in my last post, we have so many travel plans, work plans, school schedule adjustments, and more.  Full and wonderful but we have to be mindful and prepared for busy!

For starters, Ryan and I are working the Missional Women Conference as Healing Waters is an official sponsor this year!  I went 2 years ago and it was the highlight of my April!  

Healing Waters actually has some incredible new curriculum that is implemented with every water project targeted at empowering, educating, and investing in young women.  HWI believes women are the heartbeats of their homes, families, and communities.  So what better way to raise awareness and jumpstart action for justice than representing women internationally at a women's conference?!  

How studly is my husband for doing this by the way??  It's takes a solid, legit man to represent and care about women around the world, that is for sure.

Missional Women Conference
P.S.  There is still time to sign up!  It's a 2 day conference in Lone Tree and literally is one of the best I've ever attended

Ryan heads to Utah shortly with my mom for a quick two day trip to receive his regional Great Comebacks award.  I am so bummed to miss out but school just won't let me get away.

 I am pretty jelly because he gets to hang with some my favorite people-Linny, Justin, and mom.

At least I have Grumps...

As May approaches I'll share more about that month's travel plants to New York, North Carolina, and Haiti (see??  insanely crazy few weeks ahead!)

Our time off together has been really life giving too.  Of course it's not all butterflies and sprinkles, because we have to navigate the realities of marriage/communication/conflict, but on the whole--a great week!

Most nights we "ride run" where Ryan runs to train for his half marathon in June and I bike alongside.  It's the best quality time after work and we both get a workout in-score!

Ryan runs some more...
Yes!!!  Don't you love how this guy values health and doesn't let his ostomy hold him back??

We got our garden beds ready for spring planting...

Left: pre-clean up from my fall laziness garden prep and Right: Lots of fresh alpaca manure added and waiting to be stirred in the garden.

My hardcore husband is going to build us even more garden beds to go in the yard that will be perfect for large viney plants like pumpkins, winter squash, watermelon, and more!  I love those types of plants because they are easy to maintain and you get major return on your investment.

I cannot describe what a blessing it is to see our backyard becoming more a space of life and enjoyment--it was just a junky space for so long!

 Also, Mr. Grumples has been working on his majestic, nonchalant poses...

And other than that it's just been a wonderful week of family time, friend dinner, coffee dates, yoga, coffee drinking, and quiet times.

Breaks are the best!

...But one thing I do:forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Philippians 3:13-15 


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