Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Update on Grandmother

Grandmother went to see her vascular surgeon in Dallas yesterday. The original thought was that after removing plaque 6 weeks ago, increased blood flow allowed something else to break loose. Many tests were run, but it turned out that neither a stroke, nor a TIA were the culprits for Fridays events. What?? So, according to her doctor it is a neurological issue. He sent her to the neurologist's office, but after more extensive tests nothing was found. So basically Baylor has determined that they can't figure out why this happened! Very discouraging.

Grandmother still isn't feeling 100%, and is of course fearful that what caused this before might cause it again. I'm not really sure what the plan is now. Please pray for guidance for my mom and her sisters as they determine what to do, and clarity for the doctors in discovering what is the problem. They are at least all in agreement that there is something wrong - this didn't just happen because of nothing. I'll keep you posted when we have more news. Thanks so much for the prayers!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Grandmother - and the POWER of prayer!

This morning I awoke with a frantic call from my mother that Grandmother was having a stroke. Apparently Mom was taking her to get her hair done, when suddenly she went limp on her right side and couldn't speak. Mom headed straight to the ER. When she arrived the ER doctors were sure she was having a stroke - however within about an hour they were quite puzzled. Here is why ...

Within 10 minutes of my mom calling me, I sent out a text to about 40 people asking for prayer for Grandmother. With everything the Lord has brought us through, I've learned to immediately turn to prayer, rather than using it as a last resort. What a blessing to know that each person I sent that message to would, immediately, hit their knees on my grandmother's behalf. Friends - Grandmother's quick recovery is not baffling to me - it is the result of believer's joining together in His name asking Him to heal my grandmother's body!!

When I first arrived at the hospital things were not good. Grandmother could speak a little, but you couldn't understand a word she was saying. Her right side was still a little paralyzed. She also seemed to have lost most of her short term memory, and didn't know who Will was. However, within 30 minutes, things began to look up. When I left at 12:00, the doctors determined it was not a stroke after all, but a TIA (I have no clue what that stands for, but it is basically a mini-stroke, or what comes before a stroke). The doctor couldn't believe this was merely a TIA, because he was so sure when she arrived it was a stroke. I believe in the power of prayer!!

More tests will be run the rest of today - but she is probably GOING HOME tonight. PRAISE THE LORD! The conclusion is that the surgery she had about a month ago to remove plaque from her corroded artery, loosened up other blockage closer to the brain. She will be going back to her surgeon in Dallas for follow up testing, and possibly more surgery. But for now, she is doing much better ... still a little sluggish, but much better!!

I will continue to post as we get more updates, but I feel sure it will probably be next week sometime. Again, what a blessing to have such dear brothers and sisters in Christ that will go before the Lord with me. I praise God for each of you!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our Summer in Brief Review

I realize it has been quite a long time since I’ve given a real update on the Tippen household. Things have been really busy this summer, and blogging isn’t one of the things I made fit into my daily schedule. However maybe that will change. I still thoroughly enjoying reading the blogs of those I hold dear, and I know most of those blogging buddies have asked for an update. So here it goes …

Will and I closed on our first home July 10th. We knew there were a few things we wanted to accomplish before moving our things in (mostly painting and remodeling the master bath), but those “few things” have grown into numerous major projects. Come to find out our precious new home had BOTH mold and termites. Yep – what a finding! Needless to say after some initial panic it is all going to be okay. Praise the Lord for my father, who can literally do it all. He has been such a blessing to us and is continuing to direct us through each step of our remodel. Several of our rooms are now down to the studs, although we hope to insulate and add sheetrock this next weekend. Our goal is to finish by the end of September, although Dad says it’ll be November!

Will started working with his family at Salta in July. It really has been a blessing and the Lord has made it evident to us both that we did hear Him correctly. Will finds his work challenging, with new things arising each day.

I have started my job search, and actually interviewed with a firm last Friday. Will had asked me to wait to search until we had our house – but then my search was put back even further with all the remodel work we are doing. But we finally decided that my time is better spent utilizing my education, rather than heading up our construction crew. I have a few more leads I will be following up. I know God has the exact place He wants me and it’ll be exciting to see where I wind up.

Ginger is doing well. She has added a little bit to her waistline – therefore earning the nickname “Tubbie.” Our goal is to add evening walks to our schedule once we move into our home. Ginger has seen her new backyard, but can’t wait for the rock to move out and the grass to move in. Her little paws tend to fall between the rocks. :) But Will promised her she would have a very nice place when he was finished.

We realized that our entire marriage has been spent with one of us in school, so this summer we decided to take some time off to chill and just be married. We were blessed to have many travels together – Nantucket with Dandy, Kansas with the Welch Family, Colorado with the Harendt’s, many trips back to Austin to spend time with friends, and Oklahoma this weekend for a friends wedding. After this last trip I think we’ll stay parked for a while. It sure has been fun though –I think we are addicted to travel!

I guess that is all for now. I thought I had house pictures on my computer – but I can’t find them right now. So I’ll have to take more (with someone else’s camera since ours is MIA) and post them later. So look forward to returning soon – HEY, maybe I’ll have 2 posts in one week!!! :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

VERY Briefly . . .

We know it has been a LONG time since we last posted an update. So very quickly ... we are closing on our first home this Thursday. There will be more to come and hopefully pictures in the next month. It is super exciting and we can't wait to move in and make it "ours." We have obviously decided to stay in Abilene. Will is working with his family at Salta Pipe Company, and I will start searching for a legal position soon. Ginger is doing well; we can't wait to settle into our new routine w/ our new home.

I realize this is brief - but we will post a longer update soon. We love each of you!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ginger . . . the Rescue Dog!!

For those of you who know us well, Ginger is the light of our life. She is now especially sweet to us after Friday morning. We are in the process of moving (AGAIN), so Thursday night was a really late night. Actually, it was 2 AM before we went to bed. Friday morning we wake up and Will heads off to buy more furniture blankets from U-Haul. Ginger and I decided to stay in bed and get a little more sleep. :) All of sudden I awoke to Ginger barking. I hadn't heard anyone knocking at the door, but thought I'd go check. I looked through the peep-hole, but no one was there. So I convinced my precious little puppy to come back to bed with me. As soon as we laid down she began barking again. (Side note - Ginger doesn't usually bark. Only when someone comes to the door.) I checked the door again, and then picked Ginger up to give her a "talking to." It didn't matter - she wasn't stopping. I knew something had to be up, but couldn't figure it out. She was going NUTS!! I then realized there was a faint smell of smoke. Now because of the guagua fire 2 weeks earlier I didn't want to overreact. I assumed someone had simply burnt their breakfast. At Ginger's insistancy I decided to go ask our neighbor upstairs if all was alright. She wasn't home, and I didn't smell smoke up there. I went back into our apartment to find Ginger still in dismay. The smoke seemed to be getting a little stronger, so I decided to check the apartment right underneath us. I couldn't get anyone at the door, but noticed that her dog (which is CRAZY) wasn't barking. As I looked in the bedroom window I saw white smoke!! I ran upstairs and called 911. They told me to get everyone out and pull the fire alarm. I grabbed Ginger and a few other things (including my deodorant and toothbrush - didn't want to stink!) and ran out the door. Within minutes 6 firetrucks and an ambulance arrived. It was so surreal!! Praise the Lord no one was injured. Even the dog was pulled out and revived. About 2 1/2 hours later the firetrucks had left and we were loading our things.

When Will arrived home he said if it had just been a few more hours we would've been out - but then perhaps no one would've been there to notice the smell. It was definitely God's hand of protection. I am a HARD sleeper, and might not have woken up but for Ginger. In fact, after all the commotion was over - a girl walked out of the adjoining apartment - she had slept through the WHOLE thing!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Serving God in The Dominican Republic

For those of you who didn’t know, last week I had the opportunity to minister with a group of women from our church in The Dominican Republic. Although I’ve done mission work in the states, this was my first international experience. I’ve wanted to write about my trip this whole week, but to be honest I had to take a little time to let it all set in. Last week I felt God use me in a way unlike I’ve ever been used. I felt at home, and had an unbelievable sense of peace. I felt I truly made a difference in the lives of His children. So this week as I’ve sat in my Austin apartment, packing for the one millionth time, I’ve spent a lot of time questioning what it is we are to do next. I know He will show us in due time, but I might have just a little patience problem. :) Okay, back to my trip . . .

Our church helps support Makarios, a ministry that focuses on educational development in the DR and Haiti. Initially Makarios taught school in the Haitian villages (called bateyes), but in August they finished building their first “real” school, and the kids now come there to learn. We mostly worked in the school, but also did a little bit of work in the bateyes and some work on the Makarios farm. At first I thought I’d write a little bit about each day, but then realized that this post would be WAY too long. Instead I’ll try to hit some of my highlights in chronological order.

1st highlight -- Church Sunday morning! Although the service was entirely in Spanish (and - I do NOT speak Spanish – only the little bit that I remember from high school), it was breathtaking to watch them praise and worship the same God I praise and worship. Most of the service I found myself in tears just watching them on their face before the Lord. It was truly a gift!!

2nd highlight -- The children!!! I know this is broad, but I really did love each and every one of them. I knew before I went that this would be my favorite part, and Will told me several times to make sure I did not bring a child home in my suitcase. :) Each morning when we arrived at school there would be a sea of beautiful children waiting for us to get out of the guagua (our van). As soon as we stepped out a child, or two, would take your hand as if to lay claim that you were theirs for the day. We would sing praise songs with them (some even in English), help them with their class work, and play with them at recess. There are 3 different groups of kids that come throughout the day, and I had more than a handful I felt I really connected with. I loved waking up each morning knowing I was going to see them and spend the day with them. They were all so genuine, and so full of joy. I told Will that of course the poverty in the DR was obvious, but that is not what I saw. I saw more joy than I have seen in a long time. Despite their physical circumstances, those children were thankful for EVERY thing God has given them. I’ve never seen smiles like those, and I pray they are smiles I will never forget. I will have to admit that it was VERY hard for me to leave them. One little boy, Igamo, came up to me the last day because he had heard through another we were leaving. He so sweetly asked me if I was going back to my home, I started BALLING!! The look in his eyes was so sweet, I knew he understood I was only there for a short time and would have to go home eventually, but I just couldn’t bear to leave him. I felt we had come so far in such a short time, and I knew I would miss his amazing hugs and sweet, sweet spirit!

This one is after dominating "Red light, Green light"

3rd highlight -- The Dominican women! Our group had a very unique experience with some of the mothers. We decided we would plan a little time to invite them to school after the kids had gone. Our church has a card ministry, and they had pre-cut all the materials for us to make cards with the women. On Tuesday afternoon we had about 12-15 mothers come to spend time with us. It was awesome!! They loved making the cards, and loved that for the first time a group had reached out to them. The teachers (mostly missionaries from Austin who are around my age) also thought it was a great experience and were excited the mothers had the chance to have loved poured into them. BIG highlight – I got invited into one of their homes. This was such a treasure!! After we finished card making I walked to her home. Four generations in the same house!! As I knocked on the door everyone stood up and welcomed me. You would’ve thought I was someone famous. They gave me their chair, made sure their fan was pointed straight on me, and offered me a glass of water. We sat and visited (you would be impressed with the amount of Spanish God brought back to my memory) for a little while before I had to make my way back to the school. It was so neat to experience. They have NOTHING by our standards, yet were so enthusiastic about sharing their home with me. I went back the next day and took a couple of women from our group – it was the very same experience, although this time they sat on the dirt floor so that we could have all of their chairs. Too precious!!

4th highlight -- The Guagua Fire! Remember that the guagua was our source of transportation? Well – it kind of caught on fire Wednesday afternoon! It really was devastating because now the ministry will have to raise money to purchase a new one - - but it was a highlight to see God’s hand even in this. It had been worked on that day because it had some electrical problems. Obviously it wasn’t properly fixed because it was the electrical which caused it to ignite. Each day when we came home the guagua was parked in the carport (which is directly underneath the house). But Wednesday Garrett happened to park it on the street because Ann happened to block the entrance with the truck. After we unloaded Garrett went inside to get the truck keys, and when he walked back out the guagua was on fire!! He put a cinder block under the front tire so it wouldn’t roll down the street (the house is at the top of a hill), but the guagua magically turned itself on and drove over the block. There is an old car that has been sitting in front of the house for a year; they just happened to keep forgetting to have it hauled off. Well, that car stopped the guagua from barreling down the street while being totally engulfed in flames. Then Garrett decides to get in the flaming guagua and turn the steering wheel so that he could steer the guagua into the only vacant lot on the entire street, which happened to be right next to our house (maybe not a smart move at the time, but he wanted to get it away from our house). Then the fire department got lost and took FOREVER to arrive, but the guagua just happened to never blow up. In the end the fire was put out and no one was hurt, but you can tell by all the “happenings” that it was God’s hand that the fire played out like it did. Oh, and another miracle, that we weren’t IN the guagua when it caught fire. Praise God!!

That's our house in background.

There are a MILLION other things I could write, but this is good for now. Thanks again to all of you who prayed for this trip. It was amazing to see His hand in so much. I can’t wait until He calls me back to serve there again . . . but this time with Will!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm Home!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I am home safe and sound. I know that several are wanting to see pictures, but it may be a week or so. We had 2 people in charge of taking pictures this week, so I am waiting to get them. As soon as they come I will write about my AMAZING experience and share some of those sweet faces with you. It was amazing to see God's hand in so many ways this week. Thanks so much to those who prayed!