Saturday, August 30, 2008

Comments From Mrs. Cyborg

Janelle said...

I have tears in my eyes that you have embraced Michael so, when really it is your family and sweet Zoe, and so many like yours that have taken a hold of our hearts and turned Michael into that Cyborg!!
When the Holy Spirit gives that quiet tug at ya, you try your best to answer. That's all you can do really, the grace of God does the rest, and I guess a cyborg is born!! So funny!
I think the hugs from you will mean more to Michael than you will ever know. It is your fervent witness, and beautiful humble witness at that, to the sanctity of life, abandonment to a Fathers plan, and persevering strength that may feel weak at times, that witnesses and teaches us daily. A few ironmans is the least we could do to open up some hearts to the same.
I only wish I could be there to meet you all too, and hold sweet Zoe, but we barely got Michael there.
Oh, and as far as article disappearing, hmmm-don't know if our cause was too pro-life or what, but it was up three days---like the Trinity---like the third chromosome---funny or providential---maybe they will put it back if more people bug 'em in a nice way! Case in point--these wonderful children need the respect of any other child.
God bless you guys.

Zoe's Cyborg

It means that much to him.

Michael Hennessey wants to set the Guinness Book of World Record for the most Ironmans. He's doing it so that people start finding out about Trisomy 13 and 18. He's trying to qualify for a huge race in Kona, HI. He's doing more for kids like Zoe than anyone I know.

Makes me want to hug him. What about you? Well, he's coming to Madison, Wisconsin on September 7, and we Bats are going to break off our little trip away so we can give him a hug.

If you all plan on going to meet him in Madison, let us know and we'll all show up together. Who wants to see the Ironman with Zoe? I'll try and get a picture for you.

If you all have any more questions, please get them to me and we'll do a little q'n'a. That's question and answer.

Michael Hennessey's Article That Was Pulled From

for reasons we do not know, the article below appeared - and then disappeared from If you click this link a few times, it might work. It's hidden on their server. Maybe we should all write the author and let him know - nicely, everyone - how much we support this man.

Ironmanlife: Michael Hennessey's Mission

Kevin Mackinnon profiles the man behind Ironman for Kids

Published Friday, June 13, 2008

While I am fully aware that attempting 20 Ironman races in a year is tough, Michael Hennessey isn't likely to get a whole lot of sympathy each time he returns from a race over the next year. Not when he's leaving his saint of a wife, Janelle, back home with ... are you ready for this ... six kids, the oldest a whopping seven years old.

I can remember when our oldest was seven. Her two younger brothers were five and two. My wife claims I covered as many races as I did for no other reason than to escape the bedlam of the household. That was with three. I can't imagine what it's like to deal with six. Heck, they probably have had at least three kids in diapers for the last four years.You’d have to have a pretty good reason to head out the door for 20 Ironman races over a year, knowing that you’re leaving that sort of work behind you, and Hennessey certainly has that. Hennessey has started a non-profit charity called Ironman for Kids. The charity is raising money to bring awareness of a genetic disorder called trisomy to the world.

Trisomy is a genetic disorder associated with the presence of extra material in the chromosomes. Trisomy 13 has as extra 13th chromosome, where as trisomy 18 has an extra 18th chromosome. Down’s Syndrome is trisomy 21.

“But the other trisomy syndromes don't get as much attention (compared to Down’s) until a mother is diagnosed at birth or prenatally with the early prenatal screening,” wrote TheresAnn, who’s daughter Natalia was born with trisomy 13, in an e-mail earlier this week. “In most cases families are told their child will not survive, futile to treat and the treatment option prenatally is termination or early induction. Trisomy families just want to bring awareness out so all families are informed of their options, so they, the parents can make the decisions, and not have the decisions made for them.”

Hennessey is working hard to help us all be aware of the syndrome, but he’s learning the hard way that it’s not going to be easy to achieve any of his goals. He had originally envisioned doing 18 Ironman races in a year, which he figured would get him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. That was until Stefaan Engels heard about his goal. Engels had planned 15 Ironman races this year … then moved that goal up to 18 so he could compete with Hennessey. I’m actually afraid to publish this column – now the two of them will likely start looking for mid-week Ironman events so they can get more in.

“I’m also learning that getting to the start line of all these races is often harder than the race itself,” Hennessey says. On his way to Ironman Brazil a few weeks ago, the 42-year-old Texan was kicked off the plane until he could get a visa. A whirlwind tour of Houston got him to the Brazilian consulate in time – he got to the race with 16 hours to spare.

Hennessey isn’t just trying to finish most of these events, either. He’s hoping to complete Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene in 10 hours next weekend, which he hopes will net him a qualifying spot for Kona in the 40 to 44 age group.

There’s only one man on the planet who would agree to coach anyone with a race schedule that includes 18 to 20 Ironmans – that would be Petr Vabrousek, who routinely finishes eight to 12 Ironman and long distance triathlon events a year, almost always in the top-five. I think the only reason the Czech pro is helping Hennessey is so that he can finally answer the inevitable “Why do you do so many Ironman races every year?” question at every press conference with “I’m only doing half as many as the guys I’m coaching.”

Hennessey is quickly becoming a living endorsement of Ironman’s “Anything is Possible” theme. He did his first Ironman in 1984 when, as an 18-year-old, he was the third-to-last finisher in Kona in 16:53. Twenty years later he raced at Ford Ironman Florida, where he knocked more than six hours off his time. Now he’s trying to get back to Kona again, all-the-while raising money and awareness for a great cause.
Just ask ThereseAnn, who I’m sure would be more than willing to help Janelle out any time, despite her own challenges at home. I hope you’ll find a way to help out, too.

You can learn more about the program at

You can reach Kevin Mackinnon at

Zoe at 161

I know there's a few of you out there who have kept up with us and Zoe for all 161 days, so when I write that Robbie Seay wrote me last night to ask how Zoe was doing, and that Your Favorite Baseball Player Chris Sampson's wife txted me last night...I don't have to explain. That I'm going to see Ironman Hennessey next weekend.

Or just to tell you that Zoe is now 8 pounds, 15 ounces of chunkatude and has actually hit - and by hit we mean made the very lowest echelon of, but still hit - the healthy kids chart of growth and development (somewhere there is a healthy kid who is 23 inches and 8 pounds and 15 ounces. He or she might not be 161 days old.)

Could anything surprise you? Me either. I fed Zoe much of last night and she's now developed a scraping claw move that means, better feed me the bottle or I'm going to dig a hole in your skin and pull the arm tendons my ownself to move your bottle arm. 8 pounds of attitude. But does that surprise you? How about that she's breathing this morning at all?

How about the Australian contingent of this blog's readership? Or the extensive Canadian audience? The Texans commenting loud and proud? How about this: Cecil Cooper, former Milwaukee Brewer, is now the manager of the Astros. Surprising? Me either.

161 days has a way of beating surprise out of you. This story is longer than we thought. But it's a pretty good story. And now I'm wondering, cautiously: the doctors told me 159 days ago how the story was going to end. They gave us the lethal diagnosis. I don't doubt that my daughter has full, non-mosaic Trisomy 18. But could there be another 161 days? Would you be surprised?

(Wait...I did think of something surprising: did you know that those Ironman people swim over 2 miles, then bike over 150 miles, then run a marathon? I mistakenly called them triathletes. They're cyborgs. Just our guy is driven by a mission.)

Eternal God
by Robbie Seay Band

Forever, forever
You have been my home
Patience, patience
You've got all the time in the world
So we are more than blades of grass
Distant dreams fading fast
How long will You have us wait
We will wait on You

These days are fleeting
And life is hard
God eternal
Come back to us
And with the sun bring surprising love
To this day of eternal God

Friday, August 29, 2008

Trisomy In The White House?

John McCain's pick for Vice President is Sarah Palin, who has a four month old child with Trisomy 21 - Down's syndrome. She didn't abort little Trig, like 80% of parents who find out they have a Trisomy 21 child do.

Politics aside - practically impossible for me or most Batiansilas to do - it's moving to know someone might be sitting in the White House who has made a choice like we did with Zoe, and understands the joy of life like we do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

S'more Good Reading

Here's an interesting article talking about medicine's terminology and why it is failing many parents. And children who need treatment and would receive it if they weren't deemed to have a "Lethal Anamoly."

Some Interesting Interviews

Here's a link to some interesting interviews with two doctors about Trisomy babies. I might try to follow up with an interview of my own, the one pediatrician saying that Trisomy babies who survive birth live past age 1? Why haven't I heard that??????

Plot Twists

Isabel spent some time last night trying to decide which college to send her ACT scores to. She and Teia are taking the test in late October, and for the first time, Izzi had to consider a future beyond this weekend or next year. What did she want to do? Where did she want to go?

It's a feeling of supreme freedom that might even cause some of us to get jealous. It seems, for some of us, that those questions have already been asked and answered. We're on a path, and that's the path, I guess, we're going to stay on until...until we're done.

Somewhere beyond Izzi's freedom or our confidence in what's going to happen tomorrow is God, who may or may not agree with any of those emotions. The truth is God will do what He will do, and we will find peace when we understand that the time and the place for those things will be for His good and glory.

Take the story of Phil Eszterhas. He was one of Hollywood's highest paid screenwriters, writing great-looking filth like "Basic Instinct" and "Jade." If you wanted total nudity and murder and drug use and sex onscreen, but in a highly stylized and simmering way, Phil was your guy. But, the truth is, I repeat, God will do what he will do.

Izzi asked me if we were moving the other night. I told her I don't know. I don't know where, or when. I don't know how, exactly yet. But if God wants us to move, we will. And wherever that next place is will be as wonderful as this. There's just no evidence that God will be working things for evil for those who love Him. Quite the opposite, right?

I guess what I'm saying is the hardest lesson I've learned in Zoe and Izzi and through all of this is the idea that it's really not up to me at all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Keep Praying

Zoe's had a rougher last few days.

One trait she has had for months is a reflex to lift and then pound her head into you as she is held. I'm sure it's not voluntary and before, it wasn't much of a negative, but as she grows, she has an even greater ability to forcefully drive her head into you.

Lately, she's been awake a lot at night. More than usual, and when she's been awake it's been an extremely fidgety and uncomfortable time for her. She squirms and writhes and just can't sit still. She can't put her little head down for very long. And because she's related to me, she has almost unlimited energy to squirm and writhe and drive her head into you and cry and holler at you.

I'm being careful to avoid saying she's hurting. I'm not sure. I'm not sure if she's just got uncontrollable movement or is restless and can't settle. I don't know if she has acid reflux or what is making her so unhappy when she's awake. But it's been a while since she's been able to sit and do her usual - observe the world with her enormous eyes.

Right now, she's sleeping on my chest wrapped in a blanket. At peace. Breathing well. So lift her up in prayer as she fights for another minute or day or whatever she's given.

Friday, August 22, 2008


What do you get for a girl who has...almost everything?

At 5 months, Zoe's got a family full of people who love her, adoring fans around the world, the doting affection of a MLB pitcher, and a God who has kept her in His palm of His hand this whole time.

We are proud.


Bat and Christa have moved, no thanks to me.

All thanks goes to Heidi, Phil, Kirin, Tari, Renee, Erin, Martina, Deirdre and the rest of the cast of thousands.

I'm going to be part of the moving in team, helping Bat and Christa get set up in a house they own and can't be kicked out of with little notice.

They've found a nice place closer to Green Bay and worthy of their years of trust and service. God again shows His goodness to His servants.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Zoe Meets Your Favorite Baseball Player, Chris Sampson

It couldn't have been a more perfect night.

Your Favorite Baseball Player, Chris Sampson, waited to meet Zoe before the Astros - Brewers game...but traffic held us up. So he took the mound in relief, struck out one guy and got the other guy out.

Pretty good night. But his dear wife Heather had come up to meet Zoe and during the game, and asked us to come and meet Chris. So we joined Heather and Chris down deep inside Miller Park.

Chris held Zoe and she couldn't stop looking at him. He talked to her and her blue eyes locked on him and for minute after minute, they connected.

Sounds like Chris and Heather are working on a special event down in Houston where they hope to get some media and press around a signing raising some money for Baby Zoe. These are special people.

I told them tonight I am equally more moved and touched by the connections. Robbie with my family. Brooke with me. Heather with Zoe. Chris with Heather and Zoe. Chris holding Zoe after he had a great game. Me, staggered by it all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Teia just told me that the article I first linked to about a previous post has been updated to a point where the point of the article has changed. I trust Teia. "I think it was just that the writer knew a couple of details at first and guessed at parts and then published the article," Teia told me via Facebook.

I'll let Teia make the call. "I just think i noticed where peopl eare coming from, given the new information that was added," Teia told me.

So...BLAMMO! The post is gone.

QB Kellen

Kellen made his first (scrimmage) debut as QB on his high school team. They've moved from some 50's style Lombardi kinda offense to a wide-open, line up 4 wides and let's throw it around offense.

Kellen appeared to make some good throws and even better decisions, meaning he has little of his father's decision-making genes.

Zoe To Meet Your Favorite Baseball Player?

Tomorrow, we hope to bring Zoe to meet Chris and Heather. I'll warm up the family digital camera so you all can see.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Zoe Update

Zoe is growing and eating. It's day 149 and she's a wonder to us.

She's still struggling. Friday was her worst day in a while and even before that, every night is a long one. She still needs lots of attention and help with constipation.

The doctors had her switch formulas and changed her meds for acid reflux - they still believe that's what the "fits" are. Now, as she moans and wails her way through, we're unsure if it's the meds, the formula, or none of the above. It's a frustrating time for both of us, especially Jen. It takes all of you and then all of your faith and then all of your patience and then all of your prayers. So thank you.

A Freedom Of Religion Tip

China says they have freedom of religion. They also say that they are just "taking care" of the 30o Bibles they confiscated from Americans who intended to distribute them. So next time you enter a country that says they have freedom of religion, make sure you don't test that freedom in the country.

What would China be afraid of? If it's a mindless book, then how would it harm China?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Deeper Communion

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion

-TS Eliot

Batblog Feeling All Kinds Of Official-Like

I think we've crossed some kind of threshhold: Batblog being quoted by a website.

Michael Hennessey, our Favorite Ironman competitior Ever, did an interview with , which liberally quotes Michael's interview with us on the Batblog!

Now, if only would have contacted me, we could have traded links and become powerful internet friends. (hint, hint,

The Turtle And The Telephone Pole

What's wrong with this article?

I'll help. What's wrong with the article is that the writer didn't expunge all of the hope and faith from the article to make it a story of some anonymous and strange "religion."

Or...maybe it's because the writer couldn't remove all of the hope and faith because he wouldn't have anything to write.

What about you? If someone came and interviewed you, could they write an article without mentioning God's hand and plan in your life? God isn't something that works for me or Danny Wuerffel or Robbie Seay, but doesn't work for you. He's not a pill that some people like to take to get through. He's not Viagra.

He's more like gravity. He is. He's here. He rules. He's the one who is ordering our lives. And, like gravity, our acknowledgement of His existence does not call Him into existence. Whether you want to believe there is gravity or not is immaterial to whether it truly exists.

If you said you didn't believe in gravity, it would not release you from its laws and let you float.

If you said you didn't believe in God, He would not relent and let you out of His love and His plan and His call for you. A call for you. Can you hear it? He's calling you and me and Zoe and Bat. And Carol Post and Andreas. And Ted and Dan and Erika. And Brooke and Your Favorite Baseball Player Chris Sampson. Once you hear it, and it's working in you, you might not know how you got there, but the view sure is great.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reports From The Astro's Game

I just heard from Robbie last night, who confirmed what Brooke told me today.

1) Chris Sampson is your new favorite baseball player. Maybe all of you all could say a prayer for him and his wonderful wife, Heather. Heather made a flyer for the players to explain the meet and greet. The Astros told her she couldn't distribute it at the lockers. Heather did anyway.

2) Robbie showed up with his crew of 20, which, from my blog research included both of his brothers and a bunch of kids. They were childrenAs we mentioned earlier, Robbie took both of his brothers - Brian wrote about his experience here (who confirmed that to him, at least, the 'Stros was his fave team), and Chris is mentioned in this guy- Donald Zimmerman's - blog.

3) The kids who came, along with Ryan and Robbie's, had been through some real trials. So when they met 15!!!! Astros, including your favorite baseball player Chris Sampson, including Lance Berkman, including Cecil Cooper and his I'll get some pictures up soon.

4) Notice how no one mentions Zoe at all. How cool is it that God will use all of us in our way and that He will get the glory.

5) Zoe is mentioned by Robbie in his blog here.

One prayer that scares me a little is to pray to God to use me. Because when I do, without fail, and usually that day, He does. That's the one prayer I can think of that just always is answered that day.

I am so proud of my daughter, my family, and my friends. Brooke, Heather & Chris Sampson, and yeah...Robbie. All used by God to do some pretty incredible things.

Zoe's crying upstairs right now, Day 146. God's used her every day. I pray we all can say that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Your Love Is Strong

Our house has had Jon Foreman's EP's in heavy rotation on all MP3 players and iTunes. Kellen even talked to Robbie about them, and Robbie was big about them - he's a huge Jon Foreman fan, and said he was working on or had already played some of the songs in church.

This particular song is a sing-along even for the boys. Ethan will call from his carseat at the back of the van that "I can't hear the music."

Right now, we've got an insane landlord, feeling pressure from the just-beginning school schedules. Work for me is awesome - and exhausting. We've got a blown cylinder in the van and today, on the way to probably the biggest presentation in my life, my tire blew out. Right there on 45.

For some just didn't get me. And maybe some other minor things do, but this one didn't. The steel belt sticking out of the shredded tire was...just another thing to do. You sigh, you shake your head, and you take care of it.

So, why do I worry? Why do I freak out?

Your Love Is Strong

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Chorus (3x):
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us wicked sinners
Lead us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Tonight's The Night

On the scoreboard tonight at Minute Maid Park during the Houston Astros game it will read, "Welcome Robbie Seay Band. We love you - the Batiansilas."


Zoe weighed in at the doctor's office yesterday at 8 lbs and 8 ounces. That's up from 7 pounds, 4 ounces from mid-July, and almost to her older brother's birth weight!

Jen and I go back to those days when she was 4 lbs, something, and one doctor was suggesting that maybe we feed her whatever she wants to eat, since maybe that was her body's way of dealing with her Trisomy. RIIIIIGHT.

We're still dealing with a baby who needs special help and lots of attention. But we're also dealing with a real life, someone who shows no sign of going anywhere.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Chug Chug Chug The Batblog Keeps Going On

My completely random study of Batblog visitor stats shows that we're down from our peak of 33 countries to 23 countries around the world. But we can welcome both Honduras and Guatemala. That we have some very regular visitors from the Netherlands Antilles. That of the over 12,000 page views the blog has had in the last month, almost 12 % of the visitors were unique new visitors.

Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

Serendipitous Scripture

While writing the previous post, I stumbled across Jesus going through what I'm going through (times a billion, but still...). His heart is troubled. He knows what is being asked of Him. And He knows that this hour is why He's here.

27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"

Check out God's response:

Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

So, pray that His name is glorified in our trials. That people see the hope and the peace - the glory - of God. He will glorify His name again, in us. In Zoe.

Blessed Are The Poor Part II

Last night was another long night for Zoe. She just doesn't do well at night. Sometime, at like 3 or 4, I heard her gasp four times in a row.

I jumped across the bed towards her and then she burst into tears. Whatever had happened to her had scared her, too.

I couldn't stop crying. I kept just begging God for her life. Just begging Him for mercy on her.

Blessed are the poor, Jesus says, for yours is the kingdom of God. He isn't promising us a kingdom here. Just promising us that He knows the ending, and that the ending is His. But it's a little like if you offered a two year old a quarter and held it up - or a billion dollars. The two year old would take what he sees. How can I wrap my brain around a billion dollars or the Kingdom of God?

Izzi came back from a week-long ropes course, and she showed me this Bible verse she learned that she said is her absolute favorite: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

I have no special gifts in all of this. I'm just a destitute father begging for his daughter's life. I pray for the peace and wisdom to see the Kingdom and the blessing and reward my daughters - plural - have waiting for them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


As you know, I really struggled with Steven Curtis Chapman's loss. No one told him the lesson I had to learn: that the idea we will have a happy, healthy, long life for us or our children is an illusion. No one told him to count days and breaths with his children.

What a waste, right?

And if Steven wasn't getting over 800,000 blog hits and emails, I'd tell him what I learned. But it looks like SCC has been given that wisdom. After his little girl died, he went back in and re-recorded the ending of one of his songs called "Yours."

As always, I'm linking to it. If you buy it, proceeds go to baby Maria's foundation.


I walk the streets of London
and notice in the faces passing by
something that makes me stop and listen
My heart grows heavy with the cry
Where is the hope for London
You whisper and my heart begins to soar
as I’m reminded every street in London is Yours

I walk the dirt roads of Uganda
I see the scars that war has left behind
Hope like the sun is fading
and they’re waiting for a cure no one can find
And I hear children’s voices singing
of a God who heals and rescues and restores
and I’m reminded that every child in Africa is Yours

It’s all Yours God, Yours God, everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
and it’s all Yours God, Yours God, everything is Yours
You’re the maker and keeper, Father and ruler of everything
It’s all Yours

I walk the sidewalks of Nashville
like Singapore, Manila and Shanghai
I brush by the beggar’s hand and the wealthy man
and everywhere I look I realize
Just like the streets of London
for every man and woman, boy and girl
All of creation, this is our Father’s world

It’s all Yours God, Yours God, everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
and it’s all Yours God, Yours God, everything is Yours
You’re the maker and keeper, Father and ruler of everything

It’s all Yours, God
It’s all Yours, God
It’s all Yours, God
It’s all Yours, God

The glory is Yours, God
All the honor is Yours, God
The power is Yours, God
The glory is Yours, God
You’re the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords

And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
From the stars in the sky to the depths of the ocean floor
And it’s all Yours God, Yours God
Everything is Yours
All the greatness and power, the glory and splendor and majesty
Everything is Yours
It’s all Yours

*****The 2008 radio single version adds this fourth verse*****

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

What A Waste

Believe me, those words have crossed my mind. Not just about Zoe, but even about A.E. up north.

How about this piece of wisdom from My Utmost For His Highest:

"Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, "God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him."

Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be."

I'll repeat the part that requires stressing: TOTALLY INCAPABLE.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Zoe Update

We took Zoe in for a little more bloodwork. Results show that her liver function is fine - no direct jaundice. This is counter to what we heard on her release from the hospital, that direct jaundice doesn't leave unless there is surgery. Results also show kidneys are working perfectly fine.

And her heartbeat was in the 130's.

And she's downing 3 ounces of formula now.

I'm convinced, more than ever, that her breaths and her life and health are the result of all of your prayers and all the love you have. God is good. Day 138.

Your New FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYER Chris Sampson! Sampson is a relief pitcher for the Houston Astros. He actually was a very good shortstop, was drafted to play the position, but retired when he saw that he didn't see himself playing at the highest level. So he retired and started coaching at a local community college.

As he pitched batting practice for the college, he began to realize he had some real gifts as a pitcher. The more he practiced, the better he got. So he contacted his old team-the Astros-and told them he'd like to try out as a pitcher. And...bang! They hired him and he's pitching for them.

Pretty great story, huh? It gets better.

Chris met Heather and they fell in love. They were married at home plate on the Astros field. Aww. great story, huh? Wait.

Heather is great friends with Brooke, my co-worker at Avicom. Brooke told Heather about Zoe, about us, how Robbie Seay had mentioned his hometown ball team, the Astros. And I met with Heather, and she's a dear. A real sweetie and a very nice lady.

Heather went back home to Houston and talked to the Astros about doing something special for Robbie Seay. Robbie is a guy who notched a top-5 hit in Christian radio last year and thought it'd be cool to come up and do a show to benefit Zoe. That's how he rolls.

Heather contacted us and said she had 20 ground level seats for Robbie and a chance to meet some of the team. So I contacted Robbie and told him. Robbie was excited. He said he's going to take his neighbors, who have adopted many -10!- disabled kids and he knows they'd love to meet the players.

Great story, right? Hold on...

Today, Heather let us know the other big deal: Fox Sports Net is going to do an interview with Robbie at the game. And they're also going to talk about Zoe, the little 138 day old baby who somehow has rock stars, major league pitchers and their teams, and you following her life. And Fox Sports Net is going to make sure to mention in case people want to help out Zoe's family.

I wasn't going to even talk about the thank you because it's a gift from the wonderful people at Avicom to a wonderful giving man. But I have to, because it's God at work.

Who do you thank? What do you think? Listen, I love the Brewers, but I'm so cheering for this man when he's on the mound. And I'm still listening to Robbie. And I gave Brooke a hug. And I'm so grateful that today, when I was a lot low, a lot low, God again will not let me go to the darkest places. This isn't about you, He says. This is about me in you, and in Zoe. And in Heather. And Brooke. And Chris. And Robbie. And Fox Sports Net. Fox Sports Net? Yep.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Birthdays : Two Christiansen Lads

I'm that kind of an uncle. I totally overlooked the birthdays of two of my nephews, Brennick and Temish Christiansen (Deirdre's kin). Both of these guys are growing like weeds and will someday - we pray - have all the coolness of their mom, except male-like.

Temish just turned 9 yesterday and Brennick turned 16 last week. Pray for these great kids as they continue to walk and grow in Him.


I asked this question months ago. Last Friday, a friend was in my office, looking at Zoe as she snored, asking the same question.

The answer is simple - not easy. And it's harder to confront now that I know Zoe's smile and the color of her big eyes. Harder to think about now that I don't wake up at 3 in a terror to see if she's breathing. (Now I wake up and stumble to make a bottle, with little or no thinking).

The answer is that God can change hearts - even the hearts of those we thought were forever hardened. That God can change lives. And that Zoe's life is not unlike mine or any other follower of Christ - one where we are being used to transform a world seemingly jaded and hardened to hope. Zoe's life has brought families together and made us all consider how precious each minute is. It's a life lived in the Master's arms and likely, lived more purely and close to the Savior than I could ever imagine.

Thanking Robbie

We're in the final stages of getting something - and by no means, by no comparison a reciprocal something - to Robbie and the band and his kids. I'll keep you posted. I'm just happy we can do something to thank them back. And he seems pretty stoked, too.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Throw It Away.

If it's broken, or old, or not what you wanted, just throw it away. Right? Isn't that what I hear from Luxemburg, WI? And Spain? The combination of prenatal testing and abortion has shown that 95% of children diagnosed prenatally with Down's Syndrome are aborted.

You ok with that? What if you knew that the diagnoses were not accurate as previously thought?

If you're still trying to figure out your answer to the above, take a look at the video below. Throw her away?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer's End

For us, summer is almost gone. State Fair has begun, a sure sign of the end. Somewhere, someone is downing one of the 110,000 ears of roasted corn and over 360,000 cream puffs sold at the fair.

End of summer, beginning of camp. Kellen starts football camp two a days on the 11th. He's been working at WR and QB.

End of summer, beginning of SENIOR YEAR. Teia starts her last year in high school in just a few weeks.

End of summer, end of an era. My mother and father are moving...somewhere. They aren't sure where, but have been informed that they can't live where they've been living.

If I sound melancholy, I just am. I'm not ready for the 8 months of winter our state provides.

In Awe of Day 132

My terribly rude synopses of the quote below: if a bird had a baby bird with Trisomy 18, it would not care or even be capable of understanding the great tragedy, the great weight of baby bird's each day.

Same, too, if it were a monkey and a baby monkey.

It is we who add the vast importance to baby Z. Endowed with an understanding of eternity and life, love and death. And faith and hope.

I now defer to the true writer:

We are inveterate poets. Our imaginations awake. Instead of mere quantity, we now have a quality--the sublime.

Unless this were so, the merely arithmetical greatness of the galaxy would be no more impressive than the figures in a telephone directory. It is thus, in a sense, from ourselves that the material universe derives its power to over-awe us. To a mind which did not share our emotions, and lacked our imaginative energies, the argument from size would be sheerly meaningless. Men look on the starry heavens with reverence: monkeys do not.

The silence of the eternal spaces terrified Pascal*, but it was the greatness of Pascal that enabled them to do so. When we are frightened by the greatness of the universe, we are (almost literally) frightened by our own shadows: for these light years and billions of centuries are mere arithmetic until the shadow of man, the poet, the maker of myth, falls upon them.

I do not say we are wrong to tremble at his shadow; it is a shadow of an image of God. But if ever the vastness of matter threatens to overcross our spirits, one must remember that it is matter spiritualized which does so. To puny man, the great nebula in Andromeda owes in a sense its greatness.

~C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, "Dogma and the Universe", (1970)


* from Pensees by Blaise Pascal (1660): "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me."


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