Saturday, November 29, 2014

When the lemons are rotten...

There are times when you hear a knock at the front door of your life. 

You open the door, 
look down onto your front stoop, 
and see that you've been given a "gift". 

A big-ol-basket, covered with a cloth, which when pulled back, reveals a pile of bitter, shriveled, foul, and rotting lemons. 

Lemons meant to turn your life sour. 

Lemons meant to put a bad taste in your mouth.

Lemons who's stench is meant to fill your nostrils and shift your focus away from all the wonderful things you've already been given. 

Lemons meant to make you think that "bitter" and "foul" and "sour" is all you'll ever have... and perhaps, all you'll deserve. 

But then...

Just as soon as you realize the awful weight of this "gift", you feel a tap on your shoulder. 

Behind you, in the most loving and gentle voice, you hear: "May I?" 

YES. Oh Yes PLEASE. I can't make anything good out of this putrescence on my own. 

"I just so happen to have the most AMAZING recipe for lemonade that you've ever tasted. 
You got that basket of vile, repulsive lemons, and what you aren't able to see is that they are the very things I can use to create something delicious and refreshing just for you."

He steps past you, reaches down, and ever so carefully lifts the basket of filth. 

As it rises from the ground and comes up near your face, you cant help but notice that a few things have changed...

What was once a sloppy, drippy, stinking mound of vile rot... has been transformed.

Changed in an instant into the most fresh and gorgeous, large and glistening lemons you could ever imagine. 

Bright and beautiful, sweet and delicious. 

Now, as good as this moment is, knowing you are rid of the poison and will soon be enjoying lemonade so delicious that it will defy description, it doesn't stop here. 

"Now, you know that I love you, and I do this in part to help you understand that very fact, but, it doesn't stop there. It's not good enough that you just simply sit back and indulge in my love for you, but you've gotta share. Other people need to see that their lemons can be transformed just as yours have, and you get to help me show them". 

I've hung onto my basket of rotting citrus for longer than I care to think about, hoping along the way that maybe I could make something good of it on my own. I was so very wrong to think so. Once I surrendered my basket to the one who cares for me, here I sit, about to enjoy some pretty phenomenal lemonade... and not just enjoy it for myself, but share it with as many people as I possibly can. 

Genesis 50:20 
You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Though I would never have chosen to go through any of the struggles I've had to walk through during my lifetime, you better believe that I'm gonna enjoy me some lemonade soon, and do anything and everything in my power to help other people see that they can have lemonade too :) 

Happily and thankfully and so many other wonderful things,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The blog post I wrote about whats up, in order that future posts have proper context, and don't come out of nowhere...

Life is wonderful.
Life is crazy.
Life is difficult.
Life is interesting.
Life is emotion-filled.
Life is agonizing.
Life is surprising.
Life is painful. 

Life is wonderful.

I've been avoiding this space off and on for what seems like an eternity. 

I avoid writing and sharing, but I need to write and share. It helps. Like pouring rubbing alcohol onto a fresh cut. 

You know it's ultimately going to help you... but it sure does sting. 

I feel like if I'm gonna actually be able to really begin writing here again, I'm gonna need to start with some back-story. Some context, if you will. So, I'm just gonna jump right in.....

One week and one day before my due date when I was pregnant with Little Man, I woke up and felt pretty strange. I wasn't out of breath or light-headed, but I could feel my heart acting-up. It's like it was quivering rather than beating. I had my weekly Dr. appointment set for the next day, but I called and asked if I could come in that day. 

I got to the office and my Dr. did all the usual checking. 
Doppler baby-heartbeat check normal. 
Normal blood pressure. 
Barely dilated. 
Then she grabbed my wrist to check my pulse rate. She got a very odd look on her face and told me 2 things... 

1. "I'm going to send you across the street to the hospital so they can run a few tests."

2. "You'll be having your baby tomorrow via C-section." (which is something I'd never had before). 

Right around noon, I walked across the street to the hospital, heart still gyrating, thinking I'd have my blood pressure and pulse checked once more and then be sent home to get ready for my C-section the following day.

Instead, I was put in a room, hooked up to no fewer than 15 different cords, each monitoring something different. 

I had a blood pressure cuff put on my arm. 

I had a heart monitor with several leads attached to my chest.

I had a baby monitor attatched to my stomach.

I had an electrocardiograph.

I had an echocardiogram.

I had several needles jabbed into my arm, sucking out a dizzying amount of blood.

At one point I asked a nurse when I'd be able to run home to grab my stuff. You know, all the stuff I should have already had packed in my "going to the hospital bag", all the stuff that I had a nudge in my gut the night before that I should pack up, but ultimately hadn't yet packed because, of course, I wasn't due for a whole 'nother week. 

She just looked at me and said, "Oh, you're staying here". 

This was actually my first indication that something could really be wrong. 

I'm not sure how much time actually passed before the cardiologist came in but once she did, the rest of the day was kind-of a blur. 

I remember her walking in, introducing herself, and matter-of-factly asking me if I knew that I had a prolapsed valve.

I said "um, nope". 

Diagnosis: Prolapsed Mitral valve including mitral regurgitation and arrhythmia. 

She proceeded to explain what all of that meant and said that the valve issue was most likely something that I've had since birth. 

Sparing as much of the sciency-medical speak I can, ultimately, a valve that should snap completely shut during an early point of the heart-beat, doesn't completely close, allowing blood to leak back up into the chamber above. Over time, the blood that leaks back upward causes that chamber to enlarge, which then causes the electrical system of the heart to be thrown off, causing irregular heartbeat. 

Oh me, oh my. I just thought I was having a baby.

I didn't sleep at all that night, watching the hours tick by on the clock. I kept myself distracted by the anticipation of bringing a new little life into the world, however differently that may have to take place than what I was familiar with. 

The next morning, I was prepped for surgery and wheeled down the hall and into the OR. Heavy meds tend to nauseate me anyway, but apparently the spinal-block really didn't agree with the fact that I hadn't had anything to eat since before 11:00am the precious day. There I lay, arms stretched at my sides, while the elderly anesthesiologist patted my head and held the kidney-shaped dish at my cheek while I attempted to vomit without the aid of being able to feel any of my stomach muscles. 

It's amazing how quickly things go in that room. It seemed like mere moments between my laying down and Little Man making his appearance. But, before I actually heard his cry, I heard something else that the mere thought of it puts a pit in my stomach to this day. Unable to see her face on the other side of the sheet, right after lifting Zeke out of my stomach, I heard my Dr. say "OH Emily....."

"What?!" I said back. I immediately looked at Gabe who was peering over the sheet, to see if I could try to read what was going on in his expression. He just said. "It's ok. He's ok". 

My Dr. then proceeded to tell me that at some point while he was inside, Zeke had flipped himself around and tied his umbilical cord in a full knot. And that sucker was TIGHT. 

In that moment, I realized that if things had gone differently, I very well may have left that hospital without a baby in my arms. 

I do not for a MOMENT believe that God caused any of these health issues I've encountered, but I do believe that on the morning of March 1st, 2012, whatever ultimately caused my heart to start flipping and flopping out of nowhere, could very well have saved both Zeke's life, and ultimately mine as well.

Zeke was a very healthy little guy and he and I left the hospital with nothing more than a heart monitor attached to my chest and follow-up cardiology appointment set. 

I'm gonna fast forward thru the first few months after Zeke was born...

24hr heart monitoring for a few weeks
Cardiology appointment
Trip to the ER
Put on medication
Life continues on with the understanding that my valve would eventually have to be dealt with, but hopefully not for at least 10 or 15 years. 

In the meantime, my personal life had become a bit more complicated than I ever imagined could be possible. The details of which I shall refrain from sharing, unless and until it becomes appropriate. However, the increase in stress led to an increase in blood pressure, which ultimately led to an acceleration of the volume of the blood leaking from my valve. 

I ended up making another trip to the ER this past September, after which the on-call cardiologist recommended some testing that had previously been deemed unnecessary. 

I underwent what is called a TEE or Trans-Esophogeal Echocardiogram (translation: ultrasound of the back side of the heart that is done via a scope that is fed down your throat). I was sent home with the understanding that someone would be contacting me as to the results of the test. 

A week went by and since I hadn't heard anything back yet, I gave them a call. 

I was passed from one nurse to another and was given a bit of a shock.

"We've passed your case on to the Mayo Clinic and they should be contacting you soon to set up your appointment."

Oh wow... ok...

Ultimately my regular cardiologist was not 100% certain about pulling the trigger on sending me to surgery soon, but several of her colleagues felt strongly about surgery sooner than later, thus, I was referred on to the folks that deal with this situation a little more frequently than they do here in little 'ol Sioux City. 

Towards the end of October, we traveled up to the Mayo Clinic where I underwent a battery of testing and prodding and general medical-related shenanigans. 

After all was said and done, my final appointment of the trip was with a cardiovascular surgeon, in order to find out his official, professional opinion: surgery later, or surgery now?

His professional opinion: surgery now. 

Wow... um... ok...

The general valve repair rate across the United States is anywhere between 40-60%, meaning that almost half the time, when a Dr. goes in to repair a valve, it is ultimately determined that the valve cannot be repaired and must be fully replaced, which then would require the patient to be on blood thinners for the rest of their life. 

The valve repair rate at the Mayo Clinic is 99%. 

Feeling better already. 

Also, did I mention that the gentleman who will be preforming my surgery is #1 in the ENTIRE WORLD for dealing with this particular heart valve issue?

Yep, better still. 

After getting that news, I was then presented with the following decision: Would I like to undergo the traditional, full-on, open-heart-surgery? Or would I prefer the go the robotic route? 

Um... really!?? You're leaving this decision up to ME? I'm quite sure I'm not the one who went to medical school and I'm not sure such a decision should be left up to someone with as limited of a knowledge of medicine as myself! Oy vey...

I just sat there staring at him for a minute and said "uhhh.... I'm not sure..." (initially it sounds like it should be a no-brainer, but there are pros and cons to consider with each option). 

He explained everything he needed to explain and asked if I had any questions. I thought for a moment and said, "I really feel like I should have more to ask, but my brain is quite blank at the moment". He calmly reassured me that I actually don't have any more questions because he had covered everything already. Then he handed me his personal card and told me he'd see me soon. 

Though I was still experiencing a measure of shock at the thought of undergoing heart-surgery, I felt better after talking with the surgeon than I had beforehand. 

I called back after a few days and told them I had chosen the robotic surgery option and we got my date on the books.

February 3rd, 2014. 

I think that's where I'll stop for now. I'm glad to have finally gotten all this out of my brain and onto the screen. 

For those of you who are hearing about all of this for the first time, I apologize that this has kind of come out of left field. Rest assured tho, for months now, after being pelted with what seems like palates worth of lemons, we're makin' lemonade 'round here like CRAZY.  :)

For those of you who may already have known some of whats been going on and have contacted me with encouraging words and thoughts and prayers, your messages have meant more than you know and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart... which I undoubtedly know much more about now than I could have ever imagined. :) 

Through it all, my faith remains unshaken. God is BIG and I'm so thankful He's always with me. He's walked me through far too much to leave me stranded now. My story is just beginning.

Updates to come...

Much love and happily,

Friday, October 4, 2013



I am fully aware of the fact that what I had anticipated to be a couple months worth of a hiatus, a sabbatical of sorts, has turned into just over a year of silence.

I didn't give much warning, and for that I'm sorry.

I'm not even entirely sure what to write right now, but I have decided,

If I don't start somewhere,
I won't start anywhere.

I typically struggle when people have things going on in their lives, and they share just enough to get the curiosity-juices flowing, yet, remain cryptic enough to keep you almost completely in the dark...

...yet I find myself in that very predicament.

Feeling a need to "share", yet finding it very difficult to say a word.

I absolutely despise the thought of being inauthentic, though I'm unsure of how much authenticity to spill out... yet silence just isn't working for me anymore.

A balancing act of sorts I suppose.

This last year of my life has been a complete roller coaster, to say the least, and though I'm still unsure of when and where I'll be getting off this ride and planting my feet back on solid ground, I'm determined to focus on anything and everything I have that is good in this life. These are definitely the things I'd like to share, starting back into the blogging-swing once again.


God is good. Always has been, and ALWAYS will be. Period.

I have 4 beautiful and amazing kiddos who are the continual light of my life. They are growing at a rate causing me to consider the purchase of a brick for placement atop of each of their gorgeous little heads.

I am beginning to smith once again and BOY does it feel good. I am planning on re-opening the etsy shop within the next week or so and I am saying that here and now as a point of accountability. I have some new goodies lined up (as well as some still in my brain, to be materialized soon) and it's just a matter of photographing and getting listing info squared away.

I appreciate each and every one of you who have checked in with me from time to time and haven't disappeared, despite by having disappeared a bit myself.

Here we go.

Let's do this.

Happily regardless,

Monday, September 24, 2012

The day of my birth...

Monday, September 24th, @ 11:47am = the very moment I turned 32 years old.

Little man and I were out to lunch with my dad and I snapped this screen-shot immediately after my mom called to sing me "Happy Birthday", just like she does at the exact same time on my birthday each and every single year...

...which was followed by a rather morbid conversation between my father and I as to what us kids are gonna do someday (waaay into the future of course) after mom heads to heaven and can no longer call us. We ultimately decided that part of our inheritance will have to be allocated towards mom making a recording and paying a "to be determined" third party to see that the 4 of us get our birthday calls forever more. 

On a much lighter note, morbid conversations aside, today has been pretty spectacular thus far and has included but not been limited to...

- Sleeping in with Little Man while Mr. G got the Little Women up and going for the day
- Lunch with Papa and Little Man
- Cards from each of my kiddos
- FREE birthday latte (pumpkin of COURSE)
- Mailbox surprise
- Birthday serenades from Mama, as well as a lunchroom full of kiddos I love
- Texts and messages from some of my nearest and dearest
- Surprise plans for later that I'm still trying to figure out
- Birthday dessert waiting for me in my fridge

I've never been one to care too much about age (after all, it's just a number right??) but so far, 32 feels pretty darn great. 

Happily and celebratorily,

PS Little Man even made me a little something. He's so thoughtful and generous...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


(clears throat nervously)... h-hello?

Is anybody here?

Oh HEY!!!! Long time no see!.., type? 

ehh... read? 

Aw nuts. You know what I mean. 

Sooo, it turns out that when you tell yourself: "Self, we seem to have a lot on our plate as of late. I think we should take ourselves a little hiatus, what say you about that?"

And your self replies: "Why yes, self, that sounds like a FINE idea..."

...Perhaps, be sure to discuss the full terms of the aforementioned hiatus with your self as to ensure that said hiatus does not end up stretching out over the course of an ENTIRE YEAR!!!

Holy buckets people, it has been a while and OH the things that have happened during the last

1 year
2 weeks
3 days

Most notably, the growth of our family by one tiny adorable Little Man...

...who's actually not so "little" anymore!

Now that the Little Man has a slightly more reliable napping schedule, and the Little Women have started back up at school...

...I intend on stretching my wings and dipping my toes once again into the waters of regularly scheduled metal-smithing sessions and interwebular communications VERY soon :)

So, I said to myself, "Self! It's good to be back!"

And I couldn't help but agree. 



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making some room...

My it's been quiet 'round this part of the blogosphere.

Though I have been "hard at work" as of late, it hasn't exactly been how you would expect...

I'm still prepping for the Labor Day art show I'll be taking part in, but, I've had something bigger (or rather "smaller") come up in the midst of it all...

Yep, that's right. The Rohan Clan will be growing come early March 2012!

After getting over the initial shock of it all, we are all smiles, excitement, and planning (and a little queasiness... ok, maybe more than a little).

The Little Women are SO very excited. The night we told them, Sophie spent several hours off and on covering her mouth and screaming. Isabel won't stop bouncing around, and Lillie has already offered to help with ANYTHING I may need (ESPECIALLY carrying the baby around at church).

They are divided as to what they want...

-Lillie wants another little girl because "little girls are just so cute and sweet".
-Isabel wants a BROTHER. NO question.
-Sophie says brother, but I have a sneaking suspicion she'd rather have a little sister, knowing her love for all things pink.

Rest assured I'll be keeping you posted along the way, but here are a few answers to questions before you even get the chance to ask...

1. We WILL be finding out the gender of this little one but I'm not quite far enough along to know yet.

2. There is only ONE in there. I had Dr. DOUBLE check.

3. Decaf latte's are not NEAR as delicious as the real deal :(


PS I'm sure many of you have already heard my dear AMAZING friend Sunny's news but just in case, here's a link to her joyful announcement! We had quite a gleeful freak-out session over the phone once we realized we were both expecting and with due-dates very near one another to boot!!! We are definitely sisters in excitement and nauseousness. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh so much happiness...

11 years with this guy by my side and I couldn't be happier!

Happy 11th Anniversary babe!
All my love,

PS: ...and this doesn't even scratch the surface of the happiness ensuing 'round these parts!