July 11, 2013

Warning!!


Many of you may know but some may not of our sweet Chloe's story. Click here to read why these articles touch so close to home for me. I beg you to read this and seriously consider these recommendations and take action.

I write this post because I feel compelled to warn others of the danger of allowing children remotely near lawn mowers of any kind. Please, giving your child a ride on a lawn mower is NOT a "fun family thing" to do, it highly dangerous and has such a great potential to do severe damage. We need to instill a healthy "fear" and respect for the lawn mower.

For your children's sake, PLEASE teach them proper safety measures when it comes to lawn mowers. And please PASS it on to your friends and family.

I wish with all my heart someone would have shared this warning with us.

This July marked the 7 year anniversary of Chloe's accident and amputation...think about it...

**************************

"The No. 1 advice to parents is: Treat the lawn mower as hazardous equipment, not a toy. You don't let a child play with an electric saw, and that's exactly what a lawn mower is," Carol Gentry, pediatric OR nurse manager, said in a prepared statement.

***************************

"Lawn mower-related injuries account for more than 51% of traumatic amputations among children. Major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers for children under the age of 10.

Kendra Calhoun, president and chief executive officer of the Amputee Coalition, stated in a press release. “Amputations from lawn mower accidents are among the most preventable. By following common-sense safety rules, you can prevent lawn mower injuries to yourself and others.”

The tips:
• Keep children under 6 years old indoors while a power mower is in operation.
• Let no child under 12 use a walk-behind mower.
• Keep children under 16 off ride-on mowers, even if with a parent.
• If you are mowing and you see a child running toward you, turn off the mower immediately. Children can fall and slip into the blade, especially if the grass is wet.
• Wear protective goggles and close-toed shoes when operating a mower or when near one.
• Before mowing, clean the lawn of debris such as sticks and stones, which may get caught in the blades and propelled out.
• If injury occurs, call 911 right away and apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding while you await an ambulance.
• Buy mowers with a no-reverse safety feature that requires the operator to turn around (and see behind him) in order to shift into reverse.


The Amputee Coalition offers these safety guidelines:

  1. Never allow children to play on a lawn mower, even if it is turned off;
  2. Never allow a child to ride on a riding lawn mower with you;
  3. Keep your children indoors and do not allow other children to play nearby while you are mowing; and
  4. Children should be 12 years of age or older before operating any lawn mower and at least 16 years old to operate a riding mower.
Before starting your lawn mower, use this simple Amputee Coalition checklist, which is based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep this checklist in your garage or near your mowing equipment. 

It only takes a minute to prevent disaster.

Before Mowing:

  1. Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects;
  2. Wear shoes, not sandals;
  3. Use eye and hearing protection;
  4. Start and refuel mowers outdoors, never in a garage;
  5. Refuel with the motor turned off and cool; and
  6. Have an adult adjust blade settings.

While Mowing:

  1. Only use mowers with automatic shutdown abilities; and
  2. Do not mow in reverse unless necessary.

After Mowing:

  1. Wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads."

***************************
NEEDLESS limb loss accidents CAN be prevented by taking simple commonsense precautions.

Every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous and potentially deadly piece of equipment


"For about 70,000 people this year, mowing the lawn will turn into a brush with death or serious injury. The statistics, from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, are harrowing: Each year 800 children are run over by riding mowers or small tractors; 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child.
Let’s face it, lawnmowers are dangerous tools, but they are so common that people may not treat them seriously. Underneath the mower deck is a steel cutting blade spinning at more than 2000 revolutions per minute. Depending on its length, the blade tip may be moving at 200 mph.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a moving lawn mower blade is powerful. “The energy transferred by a typical lawn mower blade is equivalent to being shot in the hand with a .357 magnum pistol.” That is certainly enough to mangle a hand or foot. And an injury from lawn mower blade is not neat. The blade does not make a “clean” cut, and it fills the wound with dirt, grass, and a host of other contaminants.
An injury from contacting the blade is not the only danger from a running mower. The blade speed can turn rocks, stick, or other debris into deadly projectiles. And don’t forget, the mower engine itself gets hot enough to ignite gasoline or cause third-degree burns, the most serious kind. For riding mowers, other dangers include tipping the mower over on a hill, losing control of the mower, or accidentally backing over an object or person."

July 03, 2013

Vibrant Living

I couldn't sleep last night, memories of seven years ago filled my thoughts.  A precious friend wrote me as she has every year since 2006, to remember with me.  Then I read through several of my previous entries, something I haven't done in a long time.  Reflection is a practice I've always believed to be necessary to my healing process and also a way for me to cultivate a thankful heart even in the midst of painful circumstances.
These July posts have developed into a yearly tribute to the vibrant gift of life God has blessed our Chloe with.  Instead of a morbid review of painful memories, I want it to be a celebration of the myriad of joys and triumphs we have enjoyed throughout the year...because God saw fit to spare our daughter's life seven years ago today.
I wouldn't be truthful if I neglected to tell you that my heart still catches at the thought of what my daughter has journeyed through, what she grapples with daily and what challenges will continue to face her for the rest of her life.  The desire to trade places with Chloe, to take her pain as my own will never fade away, that's just my Mama heart ;). However, I praise God that old anger raises its ugly head less and less these days! One thing I've learned is I gotta be real.  I can't identify with people who put on a mask and say everything is sunshine and roses.  Cuz sometimes it just ain't.  BUT GOD...He is the reason we still laugh, still smile, still hope, the reason we still 'are'. 
Our Chloe girl has had a magnificent year once again! :).  She rocked her way through 3 Camp No Limits...in Maine, Maryland and Florida, enjoying every minute of it!!  The full impact that CNL has had upon our family is hard to put into words...inspiration and encouragement has filled our hearts just by rubbing shoulders with these amazing people! We have made precious lifelong friendships with people who understand with no explanation, who share victories and struggles, who laugh and cry with us, who just get it. What a blessing!!!
There have been challenges this year as well, Chloe developed a painful bursa on the end of her bone which caused her to be out of her leg off and on for weeks.  So thankful for her Drs, JH and her prosthetist!  No major procedures were necessary, thank you Lord!!
A new leg design (with skin to boot) brought a huge increase in Chloe's activity level and self confidence.  It was a wonderful 4th grade school year and she made many sweet friends and also enjoyed learning to play the violin! :)  And she is anticipating another fun filled summer!! 
Chloe Abigail Schmidt, is larger than life - lives it to the fullest and has a heart brimming over with love, compassion, tenderness, generosity and kindness.  Her spirit of determination, fortitude and perseverance are an inspiration to us all.  People, big and small are drawn to the light that radiates from her.  No, she's not perfect by any means but I am a better person because she is in my life.  I am continuously convicted by her sweet uncomplaining attitude.  And I will never cease to offer my profound gratitude to God my Father for giving our girl back to us, whole and perfectly wonderful :) 
Thank you for remembering with me...
 
Her Year in pictures --

Chloe enjoying Myrtle Beach, S.C.


Enjoying the ride called life...

Zip lining at Camp No Limits...

Climbing the Rock Wall at CNL...

Tree Climbing at CNL...

Loving her buddy, Quincey...

Flying high at her 1st Gymnastics class...

She's our hero...

Spring Recital...angel girl 

SWIMMING!!!!! :)

First visit away from home by herself...

My baby girl...my sunshine xo

We all adore her...

July 03, 2012

A Season for Everything

It seems so difficult to believe that it's been six years.  In some ways it seems like forever, it other ways just yesterday.  It is a choice for me, to remember the painful or to remember the blessings and the miracles...

Just last week while we were digging around the attic, my sweet Alex came upon an old picture of he and Chloe.  It's a very special picture to me because it's the last picture taken of them before the accident.  Alex didn't realize before I mentioned it that Chloe's two little perfect chubby feet were crisscrossed in the photo.  I heard him sniffing and when I looked, great big old tears were rolling down his face.  Oh my heart, that's all it took.  Something so seemingly insignificant took us back to a place where we were sad for what had been, what our girl had to go through, what Joel and Alex have had to carry.  You know what I told Alex?  It's ok.  It's ok and a good thing to feel that pain in your heart because someone we love dearly suffered.  It's healthy to have that hit you now and again.  But we don't stay there, we look up (the only place we can look)...we look unto Jesus who is the only One who makes sense out of everything!  And we give thanks, we give the kind of thanks because you life itself depends on the One we give thanks to.  Our Father God saved our Chloe girl's life that day, six years ago.  We could have been remembering something far more painful on this day but we aren't. 

It has been a roller coaster of a year for Chloe, many wonderful things and many challenging things.  Last fall when school started, she began to experience severe leg pain.  There is nothing like seeing her in pain that throws this Mama into a panic.  We didn't know what was going on, we tried adjusting her prosthesis several times and having her out of her leg to rest.  Nothing really seemed to help.  We finally went to see her Ortho Dr. and discovered what I was afraid of -- a growth spurt put her bone down to the very end of her limb.  Chloe was walking on zero tissue, just bone.  So we knew she would have to have surgery, she's been through it once before.  I hated it then, I hated it this time.  But we had some time, Chloe's the toughest girl I know!  She determined she was going to walk as the flower girl in my Uncle's wedding and she did AND she danced ALL NIGHT too!! :)  She determined she would go to her first Camp No Limits and she DID and loved every second of it!  But finally after Thanksgiving, her leg had had enough.  She had an amputation revision surgery the beginning of December last year.  Because she had had this surgery before and it was not a big deal, we thought this wouldn't be so bad.  But it would prove to be a very difficult 3 month recovery for Chloe.  The pain she endured was incredible, I didn't think my heart could take anymore.  But God...who is rich in love and mercy...our gentle Healer, many many times we cried out to Him.  This time period I believe Chloe truly saw God as her Father, the One she could call out to herself.  I believe this has changed her forever and for good!  

March saw her back in school and doing well.  Being a 9 year old girl is tough, you know.  It's tough when you're not worried about your prosthetic leg making you "different" from all the other girls.  It's tough when you go to camp and can't swim with your leg and you have to take it off in front of everyone.  It's just tough.  But we hold onto the firm faith that God's plan for Chloe is unbelievably good and perfect! We get beautiful glimpses of it now and then...and it's awesome!  When I look at Chloe, my heart is so full of awe and thanksgiving.  This precious child has been such a gift to us, our family will never be the same.  And even though there are times I struggle and would love to take away all the difficulties she faces that only she knows that no one understands...I choose to trust with my girl and for my girl.  Because I know that God the Father loves Chloe much much more than I ever could (which is pretty hard to believe!!) :)

So, today -- I'm going to choose to dwell on the good, and there is so much good!!  :)

 


November 27, 2011

Her Mama's Heart


"I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope." Jeremiah 29:11


This is the verse we have claimed for our Chloe -- I read it to her tonight as she faces surgery again tomorrow morning. We also read from a children's devotional called, Jesus Calling. It is written as God talking to us, calling to us, beckoning us to thank Him by faith for all things that He allows in our lives...even the heartaches, the scary things. Somehow the mystery of it all is that when we thank Him and lean on Him by faith, He turns the darkness into light and lifts up our faces and we see HIM. Our "yucky circumstances" don't change but WE are changed, our faith is stretched.

All week I've been trying to swallow the lump in my throat, trying not to think about the surgery, trying not to worry, trying not to ask the same ol' why questions that often plague me when it comes to my angel girl. I don't know if those questions will ever go away, they swirl around and around in my heart especially during these difficult times. I see it in her eyes...I see her struggling to trust, to believe, to have joy in the midst of it all.

The other night she was having a tough time, she found out she would miss a special school event that Alex is participating in. It unglued her and she began to cry, "it's not fair...why me? Why am I the only one who struggles?" I began to assure it that it was ok to be sad but that she was not the only one who struggles. She turned to me and asked, "what do you struggle with Mama"? It took my breath away...if she only knew the struggles of her Mama's heart. If she only knew the times I shook my fist at God in anger, demanding to know why He failed her, to know where He was when my baby got hurt. If she only knew that every time I see her struggle I beg God to let me change places with her. If she only knew that every time she is sad, every time someone makes fun of her, every time she can't do something because of leg pain, every time she just wants to be normal...her Mama's heart breaks into a million pieces from an ache that will last as long as I'm alive. But I know that God the Father knows just exactly how I feel because He looked down upon His Son in unimaginable pain even unto death on the cross. I think Father, You know, You see me.

Chloe and I have had a few long talks in the past few weeks...one night I told her of the apostle Paul and the "thorn in the flesh" that God allowed in his life. The burden Paul was entrusted with by God to bring about humility in his heart, to remind him of how very much he needed God! And God reminded me too that these things we view as "bad" are not - they are good things because they have come to us through the nail pierced hands of our all loving and faithful Father God. We don't have to feel like thanking Him, we don't have to see the goodness in surgery or leg pain to give thanks. We can simply give thanks because HE is worthy and our faith rests in Him alone, nothing else. This is the "hard eucharisteo", the hard giving thanks that we are learning. We know that God's plan for Chloe is GOOD, pure and perfect - her future is full of hope!

And so as I see her struggle to walk her path by faith, her Mama's heart is encouraged to do the same. It's constant, it's real life, it's my path. So tomorrow I will not give her over to the surgeon's hands, I will not entrust her to their care, I will not put my faith in them ~ No, my hope and my trust is in my Abba Father. Tomorrow I will lay my child into the arms of the Great Physician who loves my angel girl much more than I ever could and in doing so, is my Peace.

November 18, 2011

Missions In Action Episode 01


This is an incredible video, you must watch!!

Visit Compassion International to sponsor a child who is waiting for YOU...

May 09, 2011

PLEASE READ!!!

Many of you may know but some may not of our sweet Chloe's story. Click here to read why these articles touch so close to home for me. I beg you to read this and seriously consider these recommendations and take action.

I write this post because I feel compelled to warn others of the danger of allowing children remotely near lawn mowers of any kind. Please, giving your child a ride on a lawn mower is NOT a "fun family thing" to do, it highly dangerous and has such a great potential to do severe damage.

For your children's sake, PLEASE teach them proper safety measures when it comes to lawn mowers. And please pass it on to your friends and family.

I wish with all my heart someone would have shared this warning with us.

This July marks the 5 year anniversary of Chloe's accident and amputation...think about it...

**************************

"The No. 1 advice to parents is: Treat the lawn mower as hazardous equipment, not a toy. You don't let a child play with an electric saw, and that's exactly what a lawn mower is," Carol Gentry, pediatric OR nurse manager, said in a prepared statement.

***************************

"Lawn mower-related injuries account for more than 51% of traumatic amputations among children. Major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers for children under the age of 10.

“We want to see the number of accidents greatly reduced by increasing public awareness of lawn mower safety,” Kendra Calhoun, president and chief executive officer of the Amputee Coalition, stated in a press release. “Amputations from lawn mower accidents are among the most preventable. By following common-sense safety rules, you can prevent lawn mower injuries to yourself and others.”

The Amputee Coalition offers these safety guidelines:

  1. Never allow children to play on a lawn mower, even if it is turned off;
  2. Never allow a child to ride on a riding lawn mower with you;
  3. Keep your children indoors and do not allow other children to play nearby while you are mowing; and
  4. Children should be 12 years of age or older before operating any lawn mower and at least 16 years old to operate a riding mower.
Before starting your lawn mower, use this simple Amputee Coalition checklist, which is based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Keep this checklist in your garage or near your mowing equipment. It only takes a minute to prevent disaster.

Before Mowing:

  1. Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying objects;
  2. Wear shoes, not sandals;
  3. Use eye and hearing protection;
  4. Start and refuel mowers outdoors, never in a garage;
  5. Refuel with the motor turned off and cool; and
  6. Have an adult adjust blade settings.

While Mowing:

  1. Only use mowers with automatic shutdown abilities; and
  2. Do not mow in reverse unless necessary.

After Mowing:

  1. Wait for blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel roads."

***************************

"More Than 600 Children Undergo Mower-Related Amputations Each Year...

More attention needs to be paid to lawn mower safety this year, according to the Amputee Coalition of America. Needless limb loss accidents can be prevented by taking simple commonsense precautions.

Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may mow your lawn 30 times or more this year. Every time you start your mower, you are dealing with a dangerous and potentially deadly piece of equipment. By following just a few safety measures before you mow, you can avoid life-altering accidents.

Lawn mower accidents cause serious injuries to legs, arms, fingers, toes or other body parts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 people – around 16,000 of them under age 19 – were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in 2007.

More than 600 children undergo amputations each year as the result of lawn mower-related injuries. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawn mowers."



Read More ----


May 07, 2011

{ Sunflowers }

Last fall I fell in love with all the gorgeous Sunflowers blooming all over the countryside in our area. Day after day their beautiful faces lifted and sought out the sun...
It reminded me of how I need to be soaking up The Son!




















December 17, 2010

Little Star Book Review

I recently had the privilege of reading a delightful new children's book called, Little Star. This is the second book by Anthony DeStefano that I've been able to receive and review. I loved the first book, This Little Prayer of Mine and Little Star is just as wonderful! I read it to my little 5 year old nephew and he loved it as did I. The illustrations are simply beautiful and are a perfect complement to this tender Christmas story, told from the Little Star's point of view.

I am always looking for children's books that have deep spiritual truths tucked into an engaging story...Little Star is exactly that.
"Little Star knew that Jesus could have chosen to be born in a palace, surrounded by riches, but instead, He had humbled Himself to be born in a stable. He didn't want to be rich and important. He wanted to be like the poorest of the poor. Jesus wanted to be born little to show all the people of the world that He loved them, no matter how small or poor they were."

If you are looking for that last little gift for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews...those special little ones in your lives then consider picking up a copy of Little Star for them! You won't be disappointed! :)

A special thanks to Anthony for again allowing me the blessing of reading your wonderful books to the little ones in my life!

July 25, 2010

Chloe turns 7!! :)

My baby girl turned 7...where did time go?? She is such a blessing to our family. Her smile lights up the room and her laughter is contagious! I don't know what we'd be without you, "CoCo"!! Happy 7th Birthday, baby...we love you with all our hearts!!! xoxo

For her Bday, she decided she wanted to get her ears pierced...


She was so brave...a few tears were shed


But ice cream at Friendlies cures anything!!!! :D


July 09, 2010

Sight and Sound

While my lovely in-laws were in town, we were privileged to see the play Joseph at the Sight and Sound Theater. It was AWESOME. It was the first time Joel and I had ever been and wow, was it incredible!! We had such a fun time with our family and also our church young couples group! :)



I don't know if we have any pictures with just us "adults"...what a great one!!



Aren't they cute??!!



What can I say?? He's the love of my life...

July 08, 2010

Fun at the Stream

Joel's parents came down from Ontario for a visit...we had such a great time, as usual! They got to spend a whole week with us and there was lots of fun things going on. This day we took them to our favorite spot down at the stream...


My Mom in law had some great shots she shared with me...









They were beyond HAPPY when I let them get IN the stream...












July 07, 2010

End of School Year

One of my favorite blessings of not working the past few months has been to be available to go to the special end of year school events for the cherubs. Joel and I both got to go to Alex's end of the year picnic...it was so fun to spend that time with him!!


Later in the week, I was able to go to Chloe's end of year picnic! I had such a blast watching her play her games and be with her special friends. I am one blessed Mama...










 
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