Friday, December 14, 2007

The big day

It's been a long but great day. We left the house at 6:30 this morning to go to the ocularist in Memphis. Delie's appointment was at 8:30 and we were actually early - very rare for us. It was fascinating to watch him make a wax impression of her eye and then go through the steps of making the eye to fit perfectly and then painting it to match her good eye. We left the office at 3:30 with the prosthesis in place. Delie looks great.

We met my parents, Beverly's sister, my nieces, and the other children at a restaurant in Memphis, and then 8 of them went to the Nutcracker at the Orpheum. My dad and I took the 3 children (two of ours and one niece) under 3 home. Delie wanted to see the Nutcracker for her birthday. The local performance in Jackson was last weekend, and Delie (and her sisters) were disappointed that we didn't go, although they didn't really show their disappointment. Then Monday night my parents gave Delie (and everyone) tickets for tonight in Memphis. I know they're having a great time. Everyone will be exhausted by the time they make it home.

In other recent news, Thomas (8 months) now has his first tooth. All of our children have gotten teeth fairly late, and Thomas continued the pattern.

And we have a new dog. Yesterday a puppy showed up by our door. He's really cute and must have been well taken care of, but none of the neighbors know where he came from. The children love him and have named him Joseph since it's Christmastime.

Thanks for praying for Delie and for all of us. Delie goes back to the doctor next week for him to check the prosthesis and make sure everything is OK. It's hard to believe that we may be finished going to Memphis for a while. This has been such a part of our lives since September 13. We're glad to have this behind us, and we thank God for carrying us through it all.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Delie's big week

Tomorrow is Delie's birthday! She'll be turning 9. She's excited about her birthday, but I think she's even more excited about Friday. That's the day she gets her prosthetic eye put in. It's supposed to be an easy process for her. The hard part was done when they removed her eye almost two months ago. At that point they prepared her eye socket for the artificial eye. Now that the swelling from the surgery has gone down completely, she's ready for the eye. We go to the ocularist Friday morning. They'll spend all day creating they eye and painting it to look like her other eye, and then they'll put it in Friday afternoon - no surgery involved. Please pray that everything goes as smoothly as we expect it to. We'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thank you, God!

Our poet-in-residence, Joy, wrote a tribute to the upcoming holiday. We are especially grateful this year and hope that you all have a great thanksgiving remembering how great our God is.

Thank you, God!

Let's give thanks to God who has given us these things:
Leaves that are a'changing and birds with spreading wings,
For leading Pilgrim fathers to the land of faith and promise,
For brothers and for sisters all the way to Baby Thomas.
For parents that are kind, faithful and true,
Thank you, God! Thank you!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

surgery follow-up, etc.

We went to the doctor again on Thursday just for a follow-up to the surgery two weeks ago. It was an extremely quick visit, and the doctor said everything looks great. The swelling has gone down a lot since the surgery, and Delie has great movement of her eye implant. She just has a clear lens in now (no prosthesis yet), but the ball that the prosthesis will attach to is already connected to the muscles, and the muscles are moving great. This means that her eyes will move together once she gets her prosthesis, so it will look very natural.

Delie is scheduled to get the prosthesis on December 14. It takes all day for the ocularist to create the eye, but she should have it in by the time we go home that day.

Last week I told you that the girls had to miss dance on Wednesday because some of the children were sick. We had gotten over all of that until Wednesday morning when Georgie got sick again! At least one of the girls cried they were so disappointed about missing dance again. But George got better throughout the day, and Beverly was able to work something out so that the girls could go. When they found out they were going, at least one of the girls cried again. How sweet. Delie loved being back at dance for the first time in two months.

I mentioned our friend Callie's birthday party last week. Callie got a "Little House on the Prairie" dress and bonnet for her birthday, so we dressed up to help her celebrate. Here's a picture of some of the children that night. Samuel is the only cowboy in the picture, surrounded by his sisters and Callie and her sisters.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

playing in the rain

We had a really big rain a couple of weeks ago. The children got all dressed up and went out to play in the rain and the puddles. They had a great time.
Our dog, Amos, came with the house when we bought it in January. He's lived here for a while, and he was nice enough to let us move in. One of his front legs got run over before we moved in, and we had to have his leg amputated, although you can't tell it in this picture. He gets around great on three legs.

We've been free of the stomach bug all weekend. We went to our friends' house Friday night to celebrate Callie's 8th birthday, and we had our church here tonight. It's great to have everyone healthy.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

this week

We've had sort of an eventful week even though we haven't gone anywhere since Sunday. Georgie and Anna both got sick in the night on Sunday. They seemed to be better even by Monday morning, though, and nobody else got sick then.

Monday night just after we finished supper, a storm knocked the power out. It flickered a couple of times before it went out for good, so we had time to get flashlights ready. The children thought it was great fun to light candles. We cleaned up the kitchen by candlelight and then read for a long time. We try to keep most of our evenings pretty quiet, and having the lights go out made things even quieter than usual. Fortunately the power came back on before we went to bed.

George got sick in the night again Tuesday night. Delie and Anna also got sick Wednesday morning. That was a big disappointment because Delie was planning on going to ballet class for the first time on Wednesday. Everyone was much better by Wednesday night, and no one has gotten sick today. We pray that they don't start again in the night tonight.

Other than that, not much has happened this week.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

family pictures

Some of the children drew pictures that we scanned into the computer. We told them they could draw something to put on the blog. I hope you enjoy them.

George's picture. He says: "The blue thing is a pond. There's a fire burning beside the pond."

Anna's picture. She says: "These are the names of everyone in our family."

Delie's picture.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

home again

Just a quick note to let you know that we're back home again. Delie did great today, and the doctor said the surgery went just like he expected it to. He said Delie should sleep a lot the next couple of days, but she should be doing good by next week. He even said she could go to ballet as soon as she feels like it. I don't think Delie knows that yet, but I know it will make her happy. She's really missed dance the past several weeks.

Our next appointment is a follow-up on the surgery in two weeks. And in about 6 weeks she'll be fitted with a prosthetic eye.

Thank you for praying for us. I don't think today was as hard as we expected. Please continue to pray for Delie the next few days. She's been dizzy and nauseous since the surgery. She also says it hurts to open her eye so we've been mostly leading her around as she got ready for bed. These are normal side effects of the anesthesia and surgery, so it's nothing to worry about, but we pray she feels better tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

surgery tomorrow

Hello, family and friends. I just wanted to ask you to pray again for us as Delie has surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) at LeBonheur in Memphis. The doctors in Tennessee agreed with the doctors in Birmingham that there was nothing they could do to restore her vision, so they'll be removing her eye tomorrow. This is the first step towards having a prosthetic eye. We think she'll have to wait 4-6 weeks to heal from this surgery before they can fit her for the prosthesis.

Delie's still doing great. She stayed up later tonight to eat "breakfast" (a bowl of cereal) since she can't eat after midnight until after the surgery tomorrow. I asked her when she went to bed if she was nervous about tomorrow. She thought for a while and said, "Ummm...not really. I've been there before so I know what to expect." I guess this may be harder on Beverly and me than it is for Delie - I hope so for her sake.

Thank you again for praying for us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Delie's appointment

The appointment went pretty well today. In some ways it was anticlimactic because we knew what to expect. The doctor was pleased with the way her bones have healed and said she won't need any more surgery to correct that. There may be additional cosmetic surgery in the future, but that will wait until after her prosthetic eye is in place.

The big news is that we have surgery scheduled for next Wednesday to either remove the eye (enucleation) or the damaged tissue in the eye (evisceration). The doctor says there's not much difference either way. The prosthesis will move with the other eye and look natural.

We wish Delie could see, and we still pray for a miracle, but we are comfortable with removing the eye now. We're really glad that we didn't have it removed 4 weeks ago (when we were expecting to) because it was so soon after the accident that I think we would have always wondered if there was something we could have done to have her vision restored. Now we know that there is nothing the doctors can do, so we are at peace and ready to move forward.

This will also be outpatient surgery at LeBonheur in Memphis.

We also went to a local optometrist (in Brownsville) today to look at frames for glasses and sports goggles. It's really important to protect her good eye, so she'll need to wear protective eyewear whenever there's a danger of her being hit, poked, etc. The optometrist recommended that she wear glasses all the time for protection even though her left eye has perfect vision. We didn't get any today, but we probably will soon. Delie found some pink frames that she liked a lot.

Delie continues to handle everything really well. And the rest of us are doing good also. We continue to appreciate your prayers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Beach Pictures

We wanted to post some pictures of the children for those who haven't seen them in a while - or ever. These were taken at the Moss reunion in Gulf Shores last June.

Anna (7), Joy (10), and Delie (8).

Samuel (2), George (5), and Thomas (2 months then, 6 months now).

Delie's next appointment

Thank you for the comments, emails, and cards that you have sent to encourage us. It is amazing how many people are praying for us - we truly appreciate it.

We go back to Dr. Fleming in Memphis on Thursday. We don't expect anything big to happen on Thursday other than making plans for the future. Dr. Fleming's office finally got the results from Birmingham, so we'll get to discuss that on Thursday. We also had the results sent to Dr. Priester (family friend and retina specialist in Jackson, TN), and we hope to talk to him on the phone sometime before Thursday.

We'll let you know what happens. Thanks again for your prayers.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Sometimes it's hard to know why things happen. A woman who recently died of cancer (a friend of several of our friends) wrote about that more eloquently than I could on her blog.

We've been wondering why lately, especially why did Delie see light and have our hopes raised only to find out that she would not regain sight in that eye? We really don't know, but we do have peace. And we have some ideas of why God has brought us down that path.

If Delie did not see light on Sept. 26, then we would have had her eye removed that day. At the time, we thought that was the right thing to do since she had not seen light. Since then we've found out that our doctors in Birmingham have had success with eyes that do not have light perception. If we had the eye removed on Sept. 26, then we would have always wondered if the Birmingham doctors would have been able to help. Now we know. Thank you, God, for sparing us from that uncertainty.

If we had not gone to Birmingham but had followed the retina specialist in Memphis, Delie would have had surgery last Friday. She possibly would have had multiple other surgeries trying to restore her sight, and who knows how long we would have held out hope for something that the doctors could not make happen. Thank you, God, for sparing Delie from unnecessary surgeries.

We went to Birmingham with great expectations and came away disappointed, but we are at peace knowing that we tried everything that we could. And we are so grateful that Delie won't be undergoing surgeries that had no chance of success. We still wonder why, but we know that God has a purpose for all things. Perharps He'll show us someday but maybe not. We are at peace knowing that He loves us and that His plans are not just for this life but for eternity.

Friday, October 12, 2007

back home

Hi, all. Sorry we couldn't update from Birmingham. We're back home tonight (Friday), and we did not have surgery today. It appears that our hopes for Delie's vision will not come to be. We met with the doctors yesterday, and they said that surgery would not be able to restore her vision. They were able to tell from ultrasound and from their exam that her optic nerve was severely damaged and the ciliary body was gone from the front of the eye. Although they can do many things, they can not fix either of these problems, and so surgery would not be successful. Dr. Witherspoon and Dr. Morris are two of the leading doctors in the world in eye trauma, and they have a reputation for operating on eyes that others would not attempt to save. So for both of them to agree that surgery would be useless was very convincing.

After finding out we wouldn't have surgery, we decided to stay in Birmingham to go to the zoo today, and then we drove home afterwards. We just got home and got the kids in bed, so we're finally able to write.

We are disappointed but not despairing. We wanted Delie to be able to see with both eyes again, but now we are just back to where we were two weeks ago. We are grateful that she was not injured more severely in the accident, and we are thankful that her left eye is perfect. Delie was fine with the news - she said she is glad not to have so many surgeries. She's been without her right eye for a month now, and I guess she's found out that she will be fine with one eye.

I'll post more to our blog later, but I'll stop for tonight since it's getting so late. Thank you again for praying for us.

George and Beverly

Monday, October 8, 2007

Change of plans

We've had some big changes in our plans since the last time we updated you. As of now, the plan is to go to Birmingham on Thursday to see a couple of doctors at UAB. They're supposed to be the best doctors in the world for dealing with eye trauma. After an office visit on Thursday, then hopefully they'll operate on Friday, depending on what they see Thursday.

We were strongly encouraged to go to Birmingham by a retina specialist, Brad Priester, in Jackson, TN - about 3o minutes from our house. Brad has done some work on George's father (Big George) in the past few years. Also, Brad's grandfather and George's grandfather were in medical practice together in Natchez, MS many years ago, and Big George went to high school with Brad's uncle. So Brad has been talking to Big George about Delie's case even though he hasn't seen her. He's recommended that we go to Birmingham from the beginning, and we finally decided that we should go just in case it might improve Delie's chances.

The doctors in Birmingham are Morris and Witherspoon of Retina Specialists of Alabama. We are excited and nervous as we wait to get their opinion. We continue to appreciate the prayers of so many, and we thank those who have left kind comments for us. I'm sorry we haven't been able to respond to all of the comments and email.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Delie's progress

Well we've made it home from a marathon day in Memphis, and the results look very good. We saw the retina specialist (Dr. Calzada at Charles Retina Institute) this morning. He did an ultrasound of Delie's eye and found lots of damage of course, but he said, "I don't see any reason to remove this eye." Praise God! He didn't and couldn't give us any guarantees about how well things might turn out, but he is hopeful that he can restore "ambulatory vision" so that Delie could see a wall but not be able to read with that eye. We've got surgery scheduled for Oct 15 to reattach the retina and perform a vitrectomy to begin repairing the eye. There will be many surgeries to come including a cornea transplant over the next months and possibly years.

This afternoon we saw the plastic surgeon (Dr. Fleming at UT Medical Group) who repaired her bones last week, and he thought everything looked good. There are other cosmetic issues that we will deal with in the future if they do not correct themselves, but nothing serious. We have a follow-up appointment with him on Oct 25.

It is hard to believe that we were prepared to have her eye removed only 8 days ago. God has been so good to us. We know that God has a plan and a purpose for all things. We believed that when Delie was about to lose her eye, and we still believe that. We intend to follow Him joyfully and submit to His will, and we pray that His gracious treatment of us will cause others to joyfully follow Him too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Delie's appointments

I just wanted to remind you to be praying for Delie as she goes to the doctor on Thursday. We're seeing the surgeon just to follow up to make sure that her bones are lined up and that everything is fine from the surgery last week. And we're also seeing a retina specialist for the first time. Delie still doesn't see anything except light, but she believes that she can see light in our house - not just the bright light that the doctor shined directly into her eye. This seems like progress, if only a little. We believe the doctor will be doing an ultrasound of her eye to determine the extent of the damage and to see what, if anything, they can do.

We told Delie tonight that the doctor may say
- you've got some damage, but I can operate and you'll be able to see more,
- there's not really anything I can do to improve your chances of seeing, or
- because of the risk of damaging the good eye (sympathetic opthalmia), we need to give you a plastic eye.
Delie handled this (and everything else) amazingly well. She seems content knowing that God will take care of her no matter what happens.

We'll let you know what the doctors say. Thank you again for praying for our family.

George and Beverly

P.S. Today Beverly found a story Delie wrote a while back about six orphans. The oldest orphan is about to flee from the orphanage for fear of being sold and the other orphans quote scripture to her to encourage her before she runs away. These are the verses she uses:
"May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble. May the God of Jacob keep you safe." (Psalm 20:1)
"He gives me new strength. He guides in the right paths for the honor of his name." (Psalm 23:3)
"Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be terrified. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go." (Joshua 1:9)

We hope these encourage you as they encourage us.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why a blog?

We are amazed by the number of people who are praying for Delie and our family. We've been sending emails to people in our address book, and then many of those have forwarded it to others, who have forwarded it to others... We wanted a way to keep people updated without expecting everyone to continue forwarding every email we sent. We considered starting a caringbridge or caringpages site, but Delie wasn't too excited about that. A blog seemed like a good way for all of the children to feel involved - so there will be artwork and articles by the children occassionally. And a blog seems more fun, rather than just being focused on Delie's accident and health.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Delie's miracle

We praise God for answering the prayers of so many. We went to the hospital on Wednesday to repair the bones in Delie's cheek and around her eye. We were also planning to have her eye removed if she still didn't have any response to light. George's mother wrote this:
I just had to write to tell you of the miracle we experienced today. Before taking Delie for surgery, George and Beverly asked the doctor if he would check her eye once more to be sure there was no sign of response. He said he would and went to get his light. He had Delie cover her "bad" eye and she saw the light with her good eye. Then he told her to cover her "good" eye. She put her fingers over her eye and he said, "No, I mean cover it with your palm to really cover it." She did and when he shined the light, she said "I see the light." He said, "No, I mean you really have to cover your good eye." He then covered her eye with his hand. She said, "I see the light. It's on...It's off...It's on...It's off. He turned to George and Beverly and said, "We won't be taking this eye out today!!!"

Actually he didn't say it with that much emotion. He was obviously pleased, but he told us we still have a long way to go, and there is no way of knowing yet if her eye will continue to improve or not. I'm sure the doctors would explain that the excess blood had drained from her eye allowing her to see, but we believe that it is a miracle no matter how God accomplished it. We have seen six doctors so far, and they all said that since she didn't see light immediately after the accident that she probably never would.

We still had the surgery on the bones, and the doctor said everything is lined up correctly now and the bones look good. He also said all of her nerves are there and should heal in time. There may be a need for additional plastic surgery at some point, but everything looks really good so far.

We planned to be at the hospital overnight, but they sent us home about 2 hours after the surgery. Delie is feeling good this morning, and she hasn't even needed any pain medication yet. We will see a retina specialist next week, and they will do an ultrasound on her eye to decide what the next steps will be.

Thank you so much for praying for us and for asking others to pray. We will send another update late next week.

George and Beverly

Prayer for Delie

[originally written Sept 25]

"Sometimes a thunderbolt will shoot from a clear sky; and sometimes, into the midst of a peaceful family--without warning of gathered storm above or slightest tremble of earthquake beneath--will fall a terrible fact, and from that moment everything is changed. The air is thick with cloud, and cannot weep itself clear. There may come a gorgeous sunset, though."

A dear friend shared this quote from a 18th century Scottish preacher, George MacDonald, a few days after our daughter Delie's accident. Our life together as a family has felt like quite a storm over the past 12 days, and we certainly do feel the prayers of our friends and family along with many we have never met. We are so touched by the cards, gifts, and food and are overwhelmed by the number the people who have told us that they, their family, church, Sunday school, Bible study, homeschool co-op are praying for us. We ask you to continue to pray for Delie and our family. Wednesday at 1230pm we will go to Le Bonnheur in Memphis for a second surgery for Delie--for repair of the broken bones in her face and for the removal of her eye. Removing her eye eliminates the risk of sympathetic opthalmia--the body attacking the seeing eye, and we want to do all we can to protect this eye.

God has blessed our family so much and we praise Him for the miracle of Delie's life and her steadfast faith. She is such an encouragement to all of us and we await the "gorgeous sunset" that we will see through her life. We will try to update Thursday.

Much love,
George and Beverly

P.S. We've attached a picture of Delie taken this summer at ballet.

Delie's accident

[I wrote this in an email on Sept 19 about Delie's accident on Sept 13. -George]

We have been boarding about 10 horses in our pasture for the past couple of months. Last Thursday, we were going out to catch one of the horses that we like to ride. Beverly, Joy, Delie, and George IV were in the pasture and had caught the horse we wanted when some of the other horses started running and bucking around. One of the horses accidentally kicked Delie (age 8) in her right eye. Anna, Samuel, Thomas, and I were watching this from the yard, and I immediately jumped the fence and ran to get her. I didn't see any big cuts, but she was covered in blood and her right eye was shut and could not open.

We loaded all the family into the van and rushed to the emergency room in Brownsville - the closest one. Delie wanted to go to sleep, but Beverly talked to her the whole way (about 15 minutes). We were encouraged that Delie made sense in her talking and had short-term memory. The Brownsville hospital is small, so they just did a CT scan and some x-rays and called for a helicopter to take her to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis. The ER doctor said her eye was ruptured, but there wasn't any evidence of brain or spinal injury. We praised God that her injuries were not as bad as they could have been.

Beverly called her sister, Alison, who lives in Brownsville, to come get the children, and she was there within minutes. Alison and her husband, Jerry, took the children back to our house to pack some clothes for them to stay with her and for Beverly, baby Thomas, and me to stay at the hospital. Joy also had to go home to find her shoe - one of her flip-flops came off while running to the van, so she made it to the hospital with only one shoe. And we had left the crock-pot on, so Alison kept our house from burning down also.

So Delie was airlifted to Memphis while Beverly, Thomas, and I followed in the car. When we got to Le Bonheur they told us that the CD that Brownsville had sent with the images from the scan was either blank or incompatible, so they had to repeat the scan. An eye surgeon looked at the scan and checked to see if Delie could see a bright light shone into her eye. She could not see the light. He told us that there would be many surgeries (Delie also had several fractures around her eye), but there was a very good chance that she would not regain sight in that eye. The first step was to try to put the eye back together as good as possible, so they did that right away.

We stayed in the hospital all day Friday and talked to a couple of doctors from the UT Medical Center in Memphis - one an opthalmologist and one specializing in plastic surgery around the eye. They both checked for light response and didn't get positive results. They were encouraging about fixing the bones, etc so that she would look like the old Delie again, but they said we would probably need to consider a prosthetic eye.

We got to go home Friday night but had to go back to the doctor's office on Saturday. They were mostly checking for infection in the eye since it was a "dirty wound," but there was no sign of infection. Again they checked for a light response. It looked to Beverly and me like Delie could see some light occassionally, but it may be that she was just guessing when the light was on. The doctor did not seem impressed by her response to the light.

On Monday we went back to Memphis to check for infection and to talk to another plastics doctor. Again, no sign of infection and no (or questionable) response to light. Delie has fractures above, to the outside, and below her eye, and she is scheduled for surgery to repair that on Wed, Sept 26. They don't anticipate any problems or difficulties with that procedure.

They also asked us to consider removing her eye while they are doing that surgery. They say that usually if a patient cannot see light before the first surgery, that they will not regain sight. Because she still has not seen light and because of the severity of the injury, they don't believe that she ever will. The danger in leaving a non-seeing eye in place is that very rarely the body will attack the good eye. Obviously we don't want to do anything to put the good eye in jeopardy, but we haven't decided if we're ready to take that step yet.

We still hope and pray for a miracle, but we are very content with whatever God chooses to do. There are many things that we don't understand, but we know that God has a purpose for all things, and we gladly trust in Him.

We praise God that the injury was not more serious. As life-changing as this may be, at least it is not life-threatening. Delie is already smiling and laughing some (although it sometimes hurts). She seems very much like her old self in many ways.

We thank God for the tremendous support that we have received. Countless people are praying for Delie, and many people have brought us meals or plan to do so. One of the women in our church has organized meals for the next week, the girls' ballet teacher is organizing meals for us from her church, and we've had family, friends, and even neighbors we don't know bring us food and/or offer to watch the children whenever we need them.

We thank God that Delie has recovered so well already. She has a long way to go - many months - but she is doing very well. She is emotionally and spiritually very strong. She is a perfect example of "child-like faith."

We pray that God will heal her and restore her sight, but more importantly we pray that His will would be done. Please pray with us for her continued health and recovery.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Anna's artwork

Anna (7) created this. This is a picture of a flower bed with an "L" in it for Lambuth University.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Georgie's artwork

George (5) and the girls have been creating pictures using the Paint program on our computer. Here's one George calls "Bear Country." There's a deer stand at the bottom and two other buildings that you can shoot out of.