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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Child #5 – was this planned…?

In a way only God’s creation can display, our dank, gray world of leafless trees and brown grass was transformed into a beautiful display of white winter over the past few days as a passing front brought with it colder air into our area. For those of us on the near shores of Lake Michigan we are all familiar with the term Lake Effect. I will come back to that though in a moment…

Theresa was at 18 weeks as we went for another OB appointment and a subsequent ultra-sound earlier this week. The baby was not cooperative and did not present a good look as to what gender may be in our future as we will welcome child number 5. Not only was the baby in a bad position but he/she was moving constantly. That second cause may have been partly due to the Coke slushy Theresa “had to have” on the way to the appointment. Since when does my wife drink Coke slushies? It dawned on me this week that I may have not formally announced that we were expecting another child in June of this new year. Well, now you know.

With Theresa being labeled as “high risk” due to Matthew’s issues, age (sorry honey) and other previous c-sections we have many opportunities to sit in the waiting room…every 4 weeks now and every week when we get closer. An observation I made at the OB office is that I have seldom seen other men there. I have been accused of maybe being a little different but I can’t be the only male out there who is excited about meeting their child, even thought it may only be a black-and-white version on a monitor and resemble something out of a science fiction movie. I know it is number 5 for us but that does not make it any less of an event.

One of the best parts of this new chapter being written in our lives has been listening to the responses we have received from well intended people. “Was this planned?” or “are you crazy?” have to be the two on the top of the response list. If having a special needs child in the brood is not challenging enough, we will be one away from a half-dozen total in the mix. Now, we have no aspirations of being the next Duggar family, but Theresa and I were both in agreement that we were having too much fun with this parenting/family thing.

A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.” Charles R. Swindoll

I know that we don’t get everything right as parents. It can be tough being a parent first and a friend second as not all the decisions we make are in full agreement with our children. I am grateful that as we see our older daughters becoming beautiful young ladies, the beauty is not just on the outside…they have a love of God first, a love for family second and a love for doing what is right. Are they perfect? No, but I am confident that “the anvil of life” has shaped them into something closer to perfect each day.

The view from our deck after 14 inches of snow

One thing I appreciate about the relationship I share with Theresa and our kids is that we are a support to each other. We can go to each other when we are hurting, need something repaired, need encouragement or just a hug. I mentioned something about lake effect snow at the beginning of this post…a unique weather phenomenon that many of us who live around the Great Lakes experience year round is how the lakes affects our weather. In the summer they can enhance a storm, in the fall they can extend our warmer weather and, in the winter with the cold air moving across warmer water, can enhance and even make it snow in some areas while other areas just a few miles away have completely blue and sunny skies.

I have a saying about Lake Michigan: In the Summer we visit Lake Michigan, in the Winter Lake Michigan comes and visits us. We can enjoy the beautiful waves, the beach, the sunshine and sunsets when we take the time to go and visit Lake Michigan in the summer. In the winter, Lake Michigan takes the time to come and visit us in the form of moisture, picked up from the lake, refreezing and being deposited back on us as snow.

A great relationship consists of being willing to reach out, go to and visit each other when one needs it the most. Is there anyone in your life this week that you need to visit? Is there anyone you need to reach out to and encourage to visit you?

We may be a little crazy but we are content with watching the waves crash against the sand and watching the snow fall silently on the trees.

Many have asked if it is okay to share this blog about our Lessons from Matthew…not only is okay, but we emphatically ask that you would. We welcome any chance to show how good God is and how he is working through the power of prayer. You may share by using the link buttons below. I would also love the opportunity to speak and share Matthew with your group, small or large and share our family story. Check out the “Want Kevin to Speak at Your Event” tab at the top of this page.


  1. Barry Hill

    As a father of 6 I can tell you that blessing will abound! Congrats on #5!

    1. Anonymous

      Barry, first of all, thank you and second, love the name of your blog! I took a few minutes and checked it out…I will be back to it when I have some more time.

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