Friday, November 23, 2007

As if we needed anymore stress...

Whelp... you guessed it. Our little boy has a broken arm! It happened a week ago Thursday when Alex and Rusty were wrestling on our bed. Rusty was picking him up and throwing him down into a pile of fresh laundry (because, well, that's just what you do when Mommy dumps a bunch of clean clothes on the bed). Anyway, Alex fell on his left arm in just the right way and broke it, right above the elbow. We didn't think he had broken it at first, just bruised or maybe sprained it. I called our pediatrician and consulted with the nurse on call. She told me to give him half an hour and see if he calmed down. We watched a movie together, he calmed down, went to bed without any problems, and slept all night. But when we got up the next morning, his arm was swollen, so I decided to take him in and have his arm checked out.

The doctor said she was pretty sure it was indeed broken, so she sent us for x-rays where this was confirmed. Oh, but wait... it gets better! Later that afternoon, we went to an orthopedic clinic where they were going to set the bone and put him into a cast. When we finally get in to see the doctor, he tells us he thinks Alex needs surgery on his arm and pins put into his elbow to help it heal properly. So, they put him in a temporary cast (picture above) and sent us home with the surgery scheduled for Monday morning.

On Monday, we drove out to Baptist Germantown Surgery Center. They asked us to be there at 7:30, called us back to pre-op at around 8:30, and finally took him back for his surgery after 9:00. Of course, Alex couldn't have anything to eat or drink all this time, so he was pretty cranky. When they were ready to take him back, they let Rusty help push the bed out into the hall, and then we just quietly hung back while they wheeled him down to the OR. It's really the first thing he's had to face without one of us by his side, and I will never forget how I felt as I watched him going down that hall, holding onto the sides of the bed, thinking he was just going for a ride...

In his hospital gown, just before going to the OR

In the recovery room

The surgery went well, and Alex was back to his normal self by evening. His cast will stay on for three weeks. Then it will come off and the pins will come out and he will be fitted with some kind of temporary cast/sling that we can take on and off. So far, he seems to be coping with the cast fairly well. Toddlers are so resilient and adaptable. The hardest part, I think, will be coming up with things for him to do for the next three weeks since I don't want to let him play outside too much. Anyone have any suggestions? Other than letting him get hopelessly addicted to TV? I fear we are already well on our way to that one. Since the night he broke his arm, he's watched "Cars" about 50 times, I think, and it's only been a week since the accident!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My First Camping Trip

So, you know this thing they call "camping?" It rocks!!! I had so much fun on our recent camping trip in eastern Arkansas. I went with Robert and Teague, Danny and Katie, and Nathan. And Jordan came for part of the day on Saturday. Oh, yeah, not to forget my parents -- they came too.

I thought sleeping in the tent was cool. Even though it got really cold at night, I was nice and toasty because I got to sleep right between Mommy and Daddy. I liked watching the campfire, and I made sure that everyone knew it was very "hot." That's one of my new words -- have I mentioned that I am talking a lot more now? I learn new words every day.

During the day, I enjoyed playing with my big green ball and making friends with the kids in the campsite next to ours. We went for a walk down to the lake, and I got to wade in the water -- it was so cold! Then my big green ball got away from me and started floating out to sea, so my Daddy ('cause he loves me so much, I guess) went for a swim and got it back for me.

We also went for a hike up this rocky mound called Sugarloaf. I rode in the baby backpack all the way up to the top and back down again. Coming down was a little scary, and I cried, but once we got to the bottom, I was okay.

Oh, and the best part of the whole camping experience? Toasted marshmallows and s'mores! Boy, were they ever good! I had several marshmallows, and then I fell asleep on Mommy's lap while everyone sang songs around the campfire.

I hope we go camping again soon!

Playing ball

Enjoying the autumn leaves

Alex and Danny

In the hammock -- love what that static electricity is doing to his hair!

The marshmallow was yummy, but I didn't like the way it stuck to my fingers!

Friday, November 16, 2007


This is the Japanese word for "country bumpkin," and I thought it an apt description of these pics of Alex in his denim overalls. Doesn't he look like a little farm boy?

Alex loves to play in Mackenzie's little toy house.

Girl Scout cookies? You bet I want some!

Diggin' in the dirt

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I thought about titling this post "World Mission Workshop" since that's what this post is really about -- our trip to OKC at the end of October for the WMW. However, it has been my experience when attending these types of seminars/workshops/forums, that they are more about rekindling relationships than gaining knowledge from classes, keynotes, and presentations.
So, "Reunion" seemed to be the more appropriate title. We reconnected with so many dear friends and former coworkers from our Japan days. Rusty saw several people he knew from his time as a student at OC. I ran into several ex-Africa-missionaries and lots of "next generation" Kenya MK's. Meaning that they were all a lot younger than me -- most of them are college students now. I am embarrassed to say that I did not recognize the majority of them until they introduced themselves to me! I mean, they were just kids, my brother's age or younger when I graduated from high school, so they have done a lot of changing and growing up over the last 10 years or so.

Alex also enjoyed a reunion with his friend, Stone. In fact, the Lj's were gracious enough to open their home to us while we were in Oklahoma City. We are so glad they did, because it gave us more time to visit with them than we would have had otherwise. And the boys so enjoyed playing together! Pictures below:

Our team had a booth in the student center, and we were able to make quite a few promising contacts. We took in a few workshop-related activities, although it's much more difficult to really engage in these things when you are chasing a toddler all day and have to work a naptime into the schedule somewhere! Mostly, we just enjoyed the sweet fellowship.

In times of reunion like this, I think we catch a glimpse of what Heaven is going to be like someday. And I thank God for those glimpses -- they encourage me to keep pressing on!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


My grandfather, Dean Clutter, passed from this life into the arms of his Heavenly Father on Monday, October 29th. The funeral will be next Tuesday, so Rusty and I are making an unplanned trip to Michigan this weekend. Since my mom called to tell me the news, I have been thinking of how to put into words what this man has meant in my life.

I am a writer more than I am a talker. I have always loved language and usually find self-expression easier with the written word than with the spoken word. However, I am a bit overwhelmed with the impossibility of this task. How do I give voice to the memories and express my deep appreciation for the legacy of faith my grandfather left me? Words seem inadequate somehow. But I will try…

Growing up overseas meant that time with my grandparents was limited. However, when I started making a list, I was surprised at how many memories of Grandaddy came to mind.

I remember his nicknames. He had nicknames for everyone! “Snicklefritz” was probably my all-time favorite. When my sister came along, she became “Fritz-a-snickle.” He also called her “Band-aid Girl” because there was a time in Julie’s younger years when she was always covered in Band-aids (to keep her from scratching her mosquito bites until they bled). In later years, he called me “Giggles” because I tend to laugh at almost everything!

I remember his jokes and teasing, his blue eyes sparkling and alive with mischief. He loved humor and making people laugh. He was also one easily overcome by emotion. He would get choked up over saying goodbye, or on special occasions, like when I asked him to give the welcoming words at my wedding.

I remember fishing with Grandaddy. He has always been an avid fisherman. Every furlough when we went to visit, he would take us kids out for the day on his boat. We would eat lunch, catch fish and get sunburned and seasick. Then, we would come home and Grandmother would fry up the fish we caught that day for supper. Yum!

I remember the summer I spent with them between my sophomore and junior years in college. I got a job at the Kroger deli and saved up my money to spend in Europe that fall on the Vienna Studies program. Grandaddy drove me to work and picked me up each day (and teased me mercilessly about one of the baggers, who was always flirting with me). I remember dinner-time conversations and the enjoyment of having my grandparents “all to myself” for awhile.

I remember his basement. His pool table, where he taught me to shoot pool (I was never very good)… his wood shop, where he would sometimes let us tinker. The three-tiered shelf he made for me long ago hung on my bedroom wall throughout my growing up years. I still have it, in storage at my parents’ house, and someday, I plan for it to hang on the wall in my home again.

I remember the Christmas several years ago, when Grandaddy got out the bugle he played during his time as a Bugle Boy in WWII and played it for us. It was the first time I (or any of us) had ever heard him talk about his experiences in the war so long ago.

I remember his preaching. He was a preacher for more than 60 years, and he was still preaching, right up until the time he was admitted to the hospital. He was 83 years old when he died, and I don’t know that he ever had plans to retire! His lessons were always clear, well-organized and thought out, and grounded in Scripture.

His legacy of faith is probably the one thing I am most appreciative of when I think of what he has meant to me over the years. It was passed on to my mom, who married a missionary/preacher, and through my parents to me, married to a ministry student and hopeful missionary. His example of life-long Kingdom service inspires and humbles me.

The idea of legacy has been on my mind since I first received word of his passing. There is a song by Nichole Nordeman called “Legacy” that expresses my thoughts perhaps better than my own scribblings can:

I want to leave a legacy

How will they remember me?

Did I choose to love?

Did I point to You enough

To make a mark on things?

I want to leave an offering

A child of mercy and grace

Who blessed your name unapologetically

And leave that kind of legacy

I read these words or hear them sung and think that they could have been written specifically for my grandfather. I truly believe that when he went Home, he was indeed welcomed with the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Read more tributes to Dean here and here.
Listen to "Legacy"
"Legacy" lyrics