Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It was FREE, healthy AND natural!

Vitamin D.  When it's free, healthy and straight from the source, we take it!  Especially when I get happy kids and eventually, tired kids.  Yesterday it was cold but the sun was shining so beautifully here in central Ohio!  I just had to get the kids out!

 My sweet, sweet babies.  Oh my heart!

 Siblings happily playing.

 Cyguy looking all cute n' all.

 Eisley Bree, always posing beautifully.

 Zeke, my explorer with a beautiful light in his eyes.

 The caboose, Bexley Jane!  And cute she is!

 My veiw most of the time, walking Bex.

That sun!  That light!  Glory!

  Telling "what if" stories with a "potty word" thrown in and then cracking up.

When one is sickly, whatever that may look like, an extra dose of vitamin D (naturally and from the sun) is excellent!  I'm all about supplements (the good kind) but when it's free and beautiful, I''m gonna take it!

Unless it's dangerously cold, I want to get my kids outside for 15 minutes EVERY day!  We left the park with smiles on our faces, and, if we're being honest here,  a lot closer to the time daddy was coming home!

What about you?  Do you like to take the kids out in the cold to get fresh air and vitamin D?  Or maybe you do it for yourself?  I like to pretend I'm a runner going out for, well, a run and the sun just beating on my face.  I bet it's that simple ;) ha.ha.ha...

Monday, November 26, 2012


What a fun weekend this was.  Thanksgiving.  Getting together with family, eating more food than necessary and shopping!  Ah, black friday.

Living 2.5 hours away from home makes these holidays extra nice.   My kids get excited to see their grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins and my husband and I get excited to watch our kids get love from other people that love them very much.  It's good for all of us!

Zeke has been doing really well so that made traveling and going somewhere other than home much easier than say, 3 weeks ago.  So, for starters, I am so thankful that he's healthier than he was.  For his smile, laughter and seeing life in his eyes again.  I'm thankful that there's more hope in front of us for Zeke to continue to get healing.  God is healer!

We spent Wednesday evening celebrating the lives of our sweet youngest two.  Bexley Jane who turned one years old on a night I was in the hospital with Zeke, back in October.  And Ezekiel Todd who turned 3 last Monday.  Time flies and hasn't stopped flying since.  Every day is a gift and I'm thankful to have them with the ones I love.  I hate when I forget to be thankful for such blessings.

Whelp!  Here are many pics so you don't feel left out.  I'm embarrassed to say that we left our really good camera at home, so enjoy the iPhone version of our good time. :)

 Our Happy Holt Family :)

Opening presents!  Yay!

 My momma and brother, Jarret.

 Bexley Jane eating her share of the cake.

 Bexley and Bebe Jean!

 Uncle Jarret playing "Tick-Tock" with Eisley

 My lovely friend Jenna who lives a few houses away. Friends since kindergarten!  LOVE HER!

 Kylaa playing my role as a child, "The cousin who can't get enough of the babies!"

 My smokin' husband and the squish.

 The love of my life. 

Thanksgiving, thankfully, gets spent with both my side and Andy's.  Extended family gathers round the table, kids laughing and giggling uncontrollably, and I get to catch up with the family I do not see often enough.  It was just so lovely.

Here are some highlights.

 Great Grandpa Bill Holt loving on Bexley.

 My MIL told me to cut the butter and put it on a plate.  This is what she got.

 Eisley and Zekey playing in the Holt backyard.

 There were 3 kids and a Grandpa Nate.  They came in happy and dirty. :)

 Cuteness right there.

Eisley said, "Poppy, can I lay next to you and watch t.v.?"  Sweet, sweet.

I was blessed to have a special conversation with my grandpa.  Most of the time he says something false and wants me to catch it and call him out on it.  The same was true this time.

It's always about God, which I love.  When I was younger, I would get sad when he said something false about God and I'd say, "GRANDPA!  NO!!!" and he would laugh and I would be so relieved that he was kidding.  Grandpa starts it out with a one liner that makes it seem that something else is more important than God.  Like, "Breena, you know, how will you really be happy without a lot of money?" or something silly like that.  He loves the part where I boldly tell him the truth.

This particular conversation led to talking about how God doesn't make bad things happen to us.  They sometimes just happen.  And sometimes, it's a string of bad choices.  But it's all in God's hands.  He also said that he felt his life was full and he was ready to go home whenever.  Made me happy and sad all at once.  He is a really great grandpa.  He's always been so nice to me, telling me that I have his heart. He loves Jesus and that brings a peace in my soul.  But who are we kidding?!  He's the most handsome, healthy "older" man you'll ever meet! He's got plenty of time on this earth!   I just love him.

I went out with my mom on Friday at midnight.  Are you this crazy, too?  We went to a few stores and didn't really find any good deals.  It was just nice to be with her.  It always is.  

Saturday I woke up at 6:30 and went out with my mom and sisters, which is really fun for us.  This year we all seemed a little more chill.  No one had anything they really had to get.  I mean, we really just wanted to be together and enjoy another year of tradition.  That we did!

Saturday my family all headed out to Matthes Tree Farm up in Michigan, just over the Ohio line.  Most of us proudly wore our scarlet and gray to show Buckeye pride.  It's a fun tradition to go to this tree farm.  It's family friendly, there are farm animals they let you pet and feed and as kids, we'd all go running through the trees playing hide and seek.  This year, our kids did instead!  Again, 'my how time flies!' (I'm such an old lady sometimes)

 Andy holding the squish and bunny squishes, too!

 My "teenage" daughter, Eisley holding her hot cocoa.

 Sweet boys playing in the barn.

 Sheep.  I love sheep.  So beautiful and sweet!

 My sweet boy, Cyrus actually posing for a picture!

 Daddy and Bex.  He kinda loves this a lot.

 She was too fast and LOVED walking all around!

 Proof it was a good weekend.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!  Where did you go?  What traditions do you have?


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thrifty Find.

For now, life is less crazy that it has been.  Our new 'norm' is settling.  So, in light of that, I'd like to do a somewhat normal blog-post.  Something that doesn't require much other than looking cute.

I love fashion and I thoroughly enjoy quickly throwing on an outfit not really knowing what the outcome will be but confident in my vision.  As long as I walk out the door confidently, who cares what others think.

My make-up?  Well, I actually did it.  At home.  Not in the car.  I couldn't believe how much brighter my eyes looked.  Even Andy noticed!  7 minutes well spent.

Mascara and eyeliner with a little tail on the corners of my eyes.

A simple red lip makes a momma feel pretty.  

Red lipstick for my cheek stain.  How you do it isn't important, right?

 The jacket is a thrift find.  I pride myself in that.

I wish I had pearl earrings.  Next time.

I should probably spend more than 5 minutes total on myself more often.  It was nice.

Here's to more blog-posts that are light, every once in awhile.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Take advantage of trials.

Do you ever do something that you feel compelled to do, maybe even a sense from God, but have no idea what it is that's going to come of it?  Currently doing this now.  I apologize in advance.

I am really good at being afraid.  Too much of what I do stems from my fear.  My biggest areas of sin come from a deeper part of my soul.  Fear at it's, worst.

My mother, who is a beautiful soul (and happens to be one hot grammy!) is always quick to quote scripture when I am low and gloomy about our current situation.  It used to bother me so much as a teenager.  I HATED it with everything in me, and now, I can't have enough of her wise words!  It's food for my soul and happens to be, well, complete Truth from our Heavenly Father.

One thing she has said to me during this time in our lives quite a few times is, "Ask God what he's trying to show you.  Is there an area of sin that you need to recognize and change?  Is there wisdom He's trying to share with you?"

It's not that she is blaming me for what's going on.  It's more like, during trials, God wants to mold us more into who were are meant to be.  He has bigger plans than just sitting up on a cloud, watching us suffer.  When we hurt, He hurts.  So, why not take advantage and soak up any learning or wisdom through our suffering?  (Because I want to wallow in my sorry and say, "woe is me"!, thank you very much!)

Slowly, over the last few nights, I have had time to just be still and ask God what areas of sin he wanted to reveal to me.  Sin that maybe I didn't even know existed.  Or maybe, I just needed a revelation of how hurtful my sin was to those around me.  It was both, of course.

As I have prayed our whole married life (which in my case pretty much means married and mothering life) to be more like the proverbs 31 woman (so cliche, I know) but couldn't keep up with her as I kept popping out children every 20 months and then having to learn to adjust all over again.  I realized that this time, right now(!) was the time I could really work on areas of my life that didn't reflect her.  Ya know, the proverbs 31 woman, who didn't really exist...I will refrain from getting all theological on ya right now.

Although I thought during the last 7 years I have not had time to be more like her, God was working on me and I can confidently say I am more like her now than I was as a newly wed.  My efforts to be like her while only seeing my failure were not the key ingredients to actually being more like her.  It was God's work on my heart and my godly desire that made me who I am today.  Ah, pressure off.  PTL!

This trial we face, as a family, is pulling out the yuck in my heart and forcing me to face fears that I didn't even know existed.  Such as being organized and on top of things.  Seriously!  You try putting your epileptic son on a diet that, if done wrong or if the perfect ration is thrown off at any given time throughout the day will cause his seizures to get worse or come back!  No thank you!  Is there room for growth?  Psh, yeah!  But I'm closer than I was before!

We are church shopping and ya'll know how fun that is!  Add a very gifted preacher/teacher husband and a child with special needs/epilepsy in the mix and then you can see how much of a party this is!  ha!

In this area, I have to just trust God through my husband to find us a church that teaches the scripture well and can handle Zeke.  (Yes, I have an opinion and he cares what I feminist comments, please!) ;)

As I stay home with Zeke every week while Andy takes the other 3 I have to let go of control and the things I want and do not want in a church.  Not easy.  Seriously, last week I started rambling, "I do NOT want to go to a church that..."  Oh, and "If they -----, I'm not going."  And,  "I don't want to go to a mega church but I do want it to be like the church in Ipswich, MA that we finally found at the end." etc, etc.

Then, I stopped and realized, I wasn't trusting my husband to hear my desires and apply that to the church we will attend.  Instead, I demanded my wants and needs like a cosumer and didn't give my husband any respect or authority.  I was fearful of what was ahead, of past "stuff" happening again and putting Zeke in someone else's care.

 What I really need is to to sit in a pew with my husband and soak up God's truth.  If that's being a consumer, then sign me up for a season!  Our family is in a season of "being served" and I must humbly accept it.

I apologized and off he went to a church he really liked and so, we will all go together next week and see how it goes :)

Anger is my specialty.  My anger can be great and it ALWAYS stems from fear.  I never have time to think about that fear because I am really awesome at reacting at whatever happened out of my control before I take a breath and consider what is true about the situation.

Well, seizures.  Although I have tried to avoid obstacles left and right, they are out of my control.  Yes, I can (and gosh dang it I am!) do things to help control them for Zeke's sake but just when I think things are good, I get all prideful and comfortable and God shows me that, ultimatly, it's all in His hands, not mine. Must let go of fear and control, and give my son back over to the God who created him.

 Putting Zeke to bed is by far the hardest thing I have to do, right now.  He does the most annoying things you could ever put together.  Smacking his lips, putting his fingers in your ear (it's weird, I know), hitting and kicking, scratching.  It's the meds,'s not his fault but put all of my buttons into one and you have "Putting Zeke to bed."  We also don't sleep well so add exhaustion to this equation and it can get ugly.

While laying in bed next to Zekey, I literally have to say out loud about a hundred times, "die to self, die to self." Then, I picture myself doing all the things Zekey is doing, but to God.  I know God doesn't react in anger or lash out in fear at my lack of faith, my kicking and screaming, my demands, my..."woe is me, God!!!"  So, I also have to remember to be "Jesus" to Zeke.  Love, Love, LOVE!!!!  Simple, right? ha!

 But, I have to put Zeke to bed and usually 2 times a day, so getting that angry that often isn't good for anyone. God is teaching me, in the most annoying of spaces to learn to control my anger, practice the presence of God and bring restoration and redemption in this nasty area of sin in my life.  I can humbly say it is spilling out into other areas of my life that I struggle with anger/control and need this attention, too.  Kinda cool!  Kinda freakin' hard...

Okay, I think I shared enough of my sin and how I am in much need of Jesus every hour of every day!  Feeling better about yourself, yet?  haha!!

Zeke update:  His "good" days, where his seizures are more under control than ever are becoming more consistent.  He is more alert and is smiling and laughing again.  He isn't shaky and falling all the time.  He seems to be enjoying life again which is a miracle in and of itself.  His ketosis is usually high with exception of the mornings which we cannot figure out but of course I have asked God to pour out wisdom and I think I have a lead as to why ;)

This momma never stops putting together the puzzle to getting Zekey's seizures under control.  What I do need to remember is that all of the good and even the bad, ultimately isn't in my hands.  As I give my Zekey over to God, pray for healing and restoration, I give all glory to Him. He loves Zekey more than I could ever, even as his momma.  And that, my friends, brings true peace.

Today, Zeke went to preschool for his first day.  This day krept up on me because all of my efforts haven't been into making sure his bookbag and papers and outfit is ready for the big day.  No, I have just been trying to save my son.  And now, as he is better than ever, I give him over to other people that could never love him the way I do but are very passionate about helping kids like Zeke develop more in line with his peers.

It's not easy thinking that for 2.5 hours, 4 days a week I will be giving over Zekey. But, they are equipped to handle him even if he does have a seizure that requires medical attention.  They have a nurse on staff and even his teacher has a sister who had a very similar situation as Zeke and she is comfortable having him around.  God prepared all of this for us in advance and I am eternally thankful.

So, here are some pictures for you to enjoy.  I need to go and sob until I pick him up in a half hour.

 Handsome boy :)

  The face he made when we would say, "Hey, Zekey!  You are going to be a big boy and go to school today!"

He was very excited all morning and that was confusing to me because it's like he knew what we were talking about.  It's hard to tell what your child can actually understand when they cannot communicat verbally.

I dropped him off and he went right in and started playing!  He's in school right now!  He's not dragging me to go outside and push the lawn mower!  CRAZY!!!!!    We shall see how he did ;)

Please, keep praying for Ezekiel's healing and restoration and for God's will to be done.  Thank you!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Whirlwind.

That is exactly how life has felt, lately.  Everything has happened so quickly and is so fast paced.  It really puts Psalm 39:4-6 into perspective.

4    "Show me, Lord, my life's end
       and the number of my days.
       Let me know how fleeting my life is.

5    You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
       the span of my years is as nothing before you.
       Everyone is but a breath,
       even those who seem secure.

6    Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
      in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
      without knowing whose it will finally be."

Let me just preface this by saying, I don't relate with other bloggers when it comes to the struggle of being real.  We are all far from the way God originally intended us to be because of the fall.  Imperfect.  Effed up; so why not share (what's appropriate, of course) with one another and allow God's redemption on our lives to be revealed?  His grace and mercy, and, of course, our obvious need for Him daily?  It's a no-brainer to me.

Has it been almost 3 weeks already?  3 weeks since we shut the doors at Ember Church.  The church God gave my husband a vision for not once but 2 times in the last 10 years.  Both times he followed God.  Both times, in the world's eyes, it failed.  I'll post on this more later.

It was another crazy day.  Zeke's future up in the air, continual seizures, little sleep (I'm talking 5 hours or less every night) yet again, no quality time in my marriage.  The only thing coming out of our mouths were demands to help where needed.  We were drowning.  Our family seemed to be ripping at the seams.  I couldn't keep up with the house, Zeke and his seizures getting worse by the day, appointments, dr.'s that refused to believe me, 3 other healthy children that just needed positive attention instead of only getting it when they did something wrong.

It was Hell on earth.  And I wasn't sure we were going to make it.  I cried out to God begging him to help us...I pictured a storm, chaos all around, fear gripping behind me as I looked up, holding on to God's robe at his feet begging for Him to help.

His peace would wash over me until the next hour when I went to Him again.  Crying out to God quite literally many times during the day...I had no control and as soon as I thought I did, God quickly reminded me that it was Him who ultimately had the control and I needed to trust him.

Then Andy said it, "We're done.  We can't keep doing this.  Ember is done."  I didn't believe him.  We weren't on the best of terms for obvious reasons.  Our lives ruled us and there truly was nothing we could do about it.  I just thought he was being ridiculous and so I replied, "Okay."

Andy stormed out the door and met with the man who had ordained him as a pastor almost a year ago exactly, told him what our lives looked like and he confirmed it.  It was time to close Ember for the second time.

I was in disbelief and honestly, I selfishly didn't want to add one more thing to my plate.  A grieving husband.

I couldn't talk to Andy much about Ember.  He had to be all internal processor-like and figure it out on his own.  So, I called my mom and as it came out of my mouth that Ember was closing, I bawled my eyes out.  For me and all that God had done through Ember bringing me closer to who God created me, for my kids who LOVED Ember and looked forward to having "Embah fwiends ovah" after church every week.  Of course, for my husband who is so gifted by God and had to again, turn away from a vision and dream that was clearly, or not so clearly at this point, from God.  There were a million reasons to grieve about Ember...

It was devastating but honestly, I didn't have much time after that phone call to grieve.  I had to keep fighting for Zeke, which as I tell my kids often, "Fighting for Zeke is fighting for this family. I do it for him but also so we can have a less-chaotic life someday, through his healing."

I fight for Zeke with every phone call, every test, every stay in the hospital, etc., etc, etc.  It takes up all of my day.  HE takes up all of my day.

During this time, Zeke was getting worse.  Hope was slipping through our fingers, dr.'s weren't listening to me when I told them he was having many, maybe even hundreds of seizures a day at this point.  They told me he was tired and that's why his eyes rolled into his head.  I didn't believe them.  He was getting worse and I had to take matters into my own hands.

I told the dr.'s since they didn't believe me that Zeke was having seizures all throughout the day, I was going to put him on the Ketogenic Diet myself because the meds were not working.  His Dr. finally took me seriously and had another (2nd) Long Term Monitoring EEG on Zeke.  Long story very short, I was right.  They were wrong.  And there wasn't much time to save Zeke from regressing further into...I can't even bare the thought...I am telling you, he couldn't even say the words he was saying for the previous 6 months.  He couldn't say 'momma' or 'dadda' anymore...He could barely stand without falling from a seizure that made him go unconscious for a second.  He couldn't sip from his straw.  It was the saddest thing ever.

I gave Andy a week to grieve Ember and then I told him he would have to hold off for awhile.  We were losing our son and I honestly wasn't sure how much time we'd have with him being somewhat aware of who were were or if he would have much of a life at all soon.  This angered Andy but I didn't care.  It was a fact and I knew, in the end, if we lost Zeke (one way or another) that he'd regret not being emotionally present during the time we did have with him.

They wanted me to wait another month with the new meds before starting the diet.  They were convinced the diet was too hard and it was a last resort.  I wasn't having it.  I worked with a friend who is in the medical field and who saved her daughter through this diet and started Zeke on it the day he was released from the hospital.

We had a scheduled Neuro appointment 2 days later and when the neurologist found out I had Zeke on the diet, he was beyond livid, told me that I was going to have to feed him sticks of butter (false!) for dinner and that it was "extremely dangerous and he could die."

Seriously?  This diet is more dangerous than my son having hundred's of seizures a day?!  Oh, and "You are going to have to watch your son's every move because he cannot eat ANYTHING that isn't on the diet."  I replied, "Yes, I'd rather have to follow him all around to keep him from eating foods he shouldn't than having to follow him to make sure he doesn't fall from his tremors these meds are giving him which are only getting worse"

He walked out of the room and fast forward one hour and I was in the hospital with Zeke for a full work week to force him out of the diet I had him on which caused the seizures to come back full force.  I wanted to die.  The doctors were controlling and even called a social worker on me for starting the diet on my own.  Then, threatened it again if I wasn't compliant with their diet.  Ludicrous!

This is the only smile we could get.  This was a 'good' smile.

When we got home, he still wasn't doing well.  He wasn't doing as well as when I had him on the diet for those 3 days before they literally forced him out of the diet for protocol.

We watched Zeke get worse.  Tantrums that lead to seizures every morning which required meds to get him out of them.  Falling from tremors and just being unsteady...I sobbed to Andy saying, "We are losing our son right before our eyes!  Why isn't the diet working like it was?!"  Hope was gone.

Then, I called my friend who helped me get Zeke on the diet in the first place and she helped me realize some of the things they were doing were actually keeping the diet from working properly.  It made me sad for the hundreds of people that are being guided on this diet by them who are probably not seeing success b/c of some major things they are doing wrong.  But!  I was hopeful that it could again, work for Zekey!

Zeke is now on the 'real' ketogenic diet and it's doing wonders.  He is smiling again, no tantrums, laughing again, wanting to read books again, saying the words he lost from all those seizures and even saying MORE!!!  He is being compliant and just all around doing so much better!  This is all in just 2 days!!

He is alert!  He is happy!  He is, Ezekiel Todd Holt! :)

I was losing my son one day and now we're seeing new light, all because of diet change.  I'm thankful to God for the wisdom he poured out on us, all the prayers for Zekey all those who have bent over backwards to help us...the list goes on and on and God, HE gets all the glory.

We have a long road ahead of us.  Keeping up with the diet for 2 years while praying he becomes completely seizure free.  Praying he has no permanent damage on his brain and that he can start developing again.  Funding through the state to help him get the therapy he needs...

Thank you for reading this and for all of your prayers.  They have and are helping so much.  God is ever present, always working and He is sure showing me that the things of this world are so unimportant and fleeting.  This time in life has brought much perspective.

Oh, and Andy and I are doing better :)  Life brings trials.  Don't bother trying to do this life without's just too damn hard.