Insights into these Shoes' Soul

Welcome to our blog! You'll get glimpses into the fabric of our lives... find out what is happening in our family, learn what our latest adjustment is to life in the US, find out what is going on in our minds, see what makes us smile, and hear what makes us tick. You'll also get ministry updates! We hope these insights into our souls will make you smile, keep you informed and challenge you to pray for us.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Travel, ER trips, flying couches and what? …Surgery?!

Fall around the Shoemaker house has been eventful.  It involved quite a bit of travel for Dan as he attended the “Rebuilding Haiti” conference in NYC, translated for a Haitian Sister Church pastor in NJ, spoke at a new Sister Church in central NJ, interviewed a prospective missionary couple in Penn, was in Haiti on 3 separate occasions, attended the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in Jacksonville, FL, visited 2 Sister Churches in that area, and represented RMI at Trinity College of Florida’s missions conference. (I think that’s the total…there’ve been so many, I lose track of him sometimes!  I need to put a GPS tracker on him!)
Devon joined us in watching
 one of Dawn's games
I (Debbie) joined Dan for the Jacksonville trip and part of the NJ trip.  We also managed to get in one of Dawn’s volleyball tournaments and a occasional game here and there.  We’re having volleyball withdrawal!  It’s been hard to not be there to cheer her team on.  Her skills are improving  (as a middle) and her coach is using her in other positions, making her a more versatile player.  In one recent game she completed 23 out of 28 hits – a great percentage!  Her freshman year roommate is now playing for another Christian college who is in the same division as Trinity.  After playing against each other her former roommate told her that her team was in awe of Dawn and afraid of her.  She said the the girls were saying that Dawn made it all look so easy and effortless.  In that same tournament she was playing well and hitting hard, so hard that she caught one girl in the chest, sitting her back on her rear.  I’m of 2 minds about that…as a parent I feel for that girl, but as a parent, I have to scream and shout for Dawn and giggle a bit, too.  She hits so fast sometimes that in other games her hits caught 2 other girls in the chest as well.
In August I spent a week in Tampa helping Dawn get settled into an apt. with 3 other roommates.  That was the same week that volleyball started up as well as classes.  She was excited to finally have her first apt.  She was able to work her classes so that she’s going full-time but all of her classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she works.  In July she started working for Merry Maids there in Tampa.  They were willing to keep her on part-time during the school year.  She earns just barely enough to keep her in the apartment, pay for gas, internet and food.  She is living by faith…her continuing in school was in jeopardy up until the last minute when a private loan was approved.  It’s really hard to see her struggling financially.  She feels God is calling her into full-time, overseas ministry yet she is having to go into debt with school loans.  Oh how we wish we could help her! Please pray for God’s provision for her for the coming semester and her senior year.  Let us know if you feel God leading you to help her finish at Trinity.  We are very proud of her for how she is handling it all—school, work, volleyball, new apt. & roommates, it’s amazing how she does it all.
Devon continues to live and work in the Naples area.  His big outside activity is Ultimate Frisbee.  He tried out and made it on a league team in Tampa despite breaking his elbow and separating his Tommy John tendon on his left arm in tryouts.  He was in rehab for quite a while until he got the doc’s approval to return to work.  Evidently he is a very good Ultimate player!  Yep, that’s him.  He was part of a photo shoot for Spin, a line of Ultimate clothing & accessories.  Okay, can’t help but brag – isn’t he hot?!
We are thankful that God continues to protect, guide and use both of the kids!  Even when Devon’s little car hits a full-sized couch on the Interstate at midnight as he was coming back from team practice in Tampa.  It had just fallen off a truck right in front of him.  Going 80 mph he didn’t want to swerve too much (which would have resulted in rolling the car), but he did swerve enough so that the car took the hit on the driver’s side.  The couch was obliterated. The car’s front & side fender, hood, headlight and radiator sustained damage, but Devon and his roommate, Wes, were uninjured.  It happened a couple of exits away from our house, so not trusting the car enough, they “limped” to our house to spend the night.
The next a.m. had it’s own little excitement, though.  We all got up early to attend to the car, get everyone to work, etc.  As we were getting in our car to leave, Wes had a seizure!
Phone pictures didn’t quite capture the moment!  Another day spent in the ER!  We were glad to be there for him since his parents are in Haiti.  And we were so thankful that it hadn’t happened while they were on the road, or when he was by himself.  Docs can’t say why it happened, though!

Our next ER visit was with Dan in August.  He seemed to show signs of a stroke so we went in as a precaution.  He was fast tracked into the ER, but after extensive testing they concluded that it wasn’t a stroke, but they didn’t know what it was.  (He’s been fine since.)
My turn came in September. After a week with Dan in NJ, I flew back to Ft. Myers by myself while he stayed to continue his trip, conferences, speaking engagements, etc.  The day I got up to leave, my right knee was swollen and couldn’t bend and I couldn’t put weight on it.  Thanks to wheelchair service and after a very long day, I made it home.  My in-laws, Herb and Shirley, came up from Naples to take me to the ER the next day.  That trip wasn’t quite so fast.  Hours later, the only instructions were to see an orthopedic surgeon.  So….I did and an MRI and many doc. visits later, the conclusion is a torn meniscus, which will require surgery.  Yep, surgery.  I’m making my way through all the pre-surgery testing and Oct. 25 is the scheduled date.  The doc. says, “30 minute procedure, a couple of days of rest, then you’re good to go”!  He was trying to reassure me, but I’m still not reassured…nothing can be that easy!! 
Many, many thanks to my wonderful in-laws for coming up from Naples several times to get me to the MRI and doc. visits.  And many thanks to our house sitter, Brynne, who stayed an extra week to continue housesitting until Dan came home.  She cared for the house, the animals and me.  What a tremendous help!
I’m now out of the wheelchair (I was in it for a month-ick!) and off the cane for the most part as the inflammation goes down, but I know I’ll end up back on the cane for a while after the surgery.  Definitely not looking forward to surgery – I just want to get it over with so I can get on with life.  In anticipation of being “laid” up a while, I’ve already decorated for Thanksgiving (we don’t do Halloween!!!). 
In October we lost our sweet Munchkin.  She was 78 cats years (15+ human years) old.  A tumor in her belly took over and turned out to be fatal.  She was so sweet and purred right up until the very end.  Her favorite place to hang out was my lap or on my back while I was sleeping.  She was a part of our family from her birth and lived with us 10 years in Haiti and 5 1/2 years in the US.  We miss her so much!
We had a visit from a special gal, Mary Langford (Lafayette, LA), who came for meetings at RMI.  She has decided to work with RMI as a volunteer Ladies Ministry Coordinator.  It’s an exciting development for RMI’s ministry with women in Haiti.  We anticipate another weekend & meetings at RMI with David & Cindy Uttley.  David and Dan grew up in Haiti together.  In fact, his family lived in the house we lived in when we were in Haiti.  He has produced several promotional videos for RMI as well as taken many photos for our promotional materials.  He’s an amazing photographer!  See a sample of his pictures here.  Here is the RMI Sister Church Partnership video he did!
The excitement around our house doesn’t end!  Dawn turns 21 this month.  To celebrate she’s having several parties…a girls spa day with several friends, a pool party for all of her friends, and a family party with us in November.  Her employer is even giving her a cake.  Not hardly possible to imagine where she was born….on a very rainy day, at dawn, in a rural, rustic maternity clinic in Haiti, only 6 lbs. 13 oz. to being a 6 ft. tall beautiful blond.  We love you Dawn!!
Stay tuned.  Our household doesn’t stay quiet for long.  Surgery updates will follow.  Hopefully the ER visits are done for the year!!