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She. Is. Alive.

Kaycee had just awoken from her nap. She was playing on the floor next to me, as the girls and I curled up and watched Treasure Planet. It was a rainy day and Kris and Kaycee had both been under the weather. Kris had the flu for the last many days and Kaycee had just developed a cold. We were having a quite and restful day. Kris was slowly waking up and getting ready to join us on the couch for the movie and time as a family.

Photo on 2-28-14 at 6.50 PM

Just a few moments after Kaycee had begun playing in the toy kitchen just behind me, she crawled over to the couch, pulled herself up, and started making an odd coughing sound. I looked over at her and noticed that she was moving her tongue in such a way to indicate something was in her mouth. I immediately put my finger in her mouth to push it against her cheek and pull it out. I tried to remain calm. But when I touched the object it slid past my finger and towards her throat. I tried to hook it again, but it went deeper. I tried to remain calm. And I shoved my finger to the side of her throat to hook it once more. As it slid deeper, I threw my body over the side of the couch and flipped her over to begin hitting her back. She squirmed and began to cry. She slipped from my hands and I fell onto her back. And I couldn’t remain calm anymore. I began to scream. Violently scream.

Kris came running from the bedroom, grabbed her quickly, and began hitting her back. He ran with her into the kitchen, fearful of what to do next, but continue to hit her back and attempt to dislodge the item. I followed him into the kitchen only to see Kaycee’s face covered in blood and blood and vomit covering Kris. He yelled at me to calm down and leave the kitchen. I returned to the couch where I held a panicked Sadie Rose and Dani, and the three of us cried and screamed and began to pray. “JESUS, PLEASE. JESUS, PLEASE.”

And then I heard the words I will never forget, “Mary, she is dying.”

I screamed, grabbed my phone, and quickly tried to dial 911. As it rang, I threw open the front door and began running outside into the rain, hoping that my presence outside would bring some some sort of miracle and I would be able to flag down the paramedics. I began screaming to dispatch. “4311 CENTRAL AVENUE. MY BABY IS CHOKING. SHE IS DYING. PLEASE COME. 4311 CENTRAL AVENUE. MY BABY. MY BABY.” I kept repeating my words as dispatch kept asking me to calm down.

I ran to our neighbors house and began banging on her door, “SHANNON!!!! HELP!!!”

Just then, I watched as Kris came running outside. Kaycee hanging lifelessly in his arms with blood and spit up dripping from her mouth. But, she wasn’t blue. She wasn’t blue. “PLEASE COME QUICKLY. SHE IS 8 MONTHS OLD.”

Kris ran into the midst of traffic, dozens of cars driving by in the downpour of the rain. He ran across the street to the workmen’s comp clinic, hoping to find a doctor or paramedic nearby. The cars came screeching to a halt. I chased him to the curb, screaming, “MY BABY. HELP. SOMEBODY. HELP.” Neighbors came out of their homes, cars stopped, a man approached Kris.

It later dawned on me that all of the cars and people on the streets were stopping because they thought Kris was kidnapping the baby. But even with people approaching, Kris didn’t stop running. Into the clinic, but out again with no avail. No one to help.

My eyes stayed on Kris and the baby as I continued to scream. Dispatch kept telling me to calm down and that someone was on their way.

Just then…black and white. A black and white was driving by. Driving by to another call down the street. Not for us. I threw myself out into the traffic and screamed, “PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP. PLEASE STOP.” The police officer pulled over. However, believing too that Kris was trying to steal the baby she almost got back into her car to chase him. But in a split second, she realized that Kris was now running towards her and not away. She knew something was wrong.

I learned later from Kris that he believed Kaycee was going to be dead, and felt she should spend her last seconds with both of us. And so, he had begun running back in my direction. By the grace and amazing hand of God, Kris had begun running back towards me just as the police officer had started approaching me.

Kris quickly handed Kaycee to the police officer and she immediately began hitting her back. She checked in her mouth and could feel the object but it was too far in. Then back over again and HIT HIT HIT. She then hooked her finger in…and PRAISE THE LORD…pulled out a plastic water bottle cap covered in phlegm and blood. And Kaycee cried. She cried and coughed and cried and cried. And I held her in the rain and cried and cried.

Dispatch was still on the phone. The paramedics were still on their way. Dispatch began yelling at me, “Ma’am, what is happening?” By that time, I had enough of dispatch and threw the phone at another officer who had arrived at the scene, “Here, you talk to dispatch.” And I held my baby and I cried.

I looked over to our home and saw Sadie Rose and Dani, standing panicked and fearful on our porch. The precious little girls never left the porch. In the fear of the moment, they followed our directions. Praise the Lord. Our neighbor Shannon came to their side and took them into the house.

When I stood up, I saw multiple police cars surrounding the area. They had all stopped. One officer even opened his back seat door and released the man he had in custody. Apparently, our situation called for more attention (my apologies to the community that is not being disturbed by the drunk in public wandering the streets). The officers helped me to my feet, and helped me to the house. I couldn’t stop crying and screaming and holding Kaycee. The blood and vomit continued. Was this nightmare not over yet!?! Please dear God.

In the small of our entry way four or five police officers came in, followed FINALLY by the paramedics. Notepads came out. Questions asked all around us. A blur. They would need to take her by ambulance to the hospital. Kris got her carseat and gave it to the paramedics. He then told me that we would let her go by herself with the paramedics and we would follow. I panicked. No, I could not let her out of my sight. The paramedics pleaded with me that she would be fine. Kris assured me she would be fine. We would follow right behind.

They wrapped me and Kaycee in a blanket as I carried her back out into the rain and towards the ambulance. It was then I realized that I had been wearing my slippers. Soaked now with rain from running around the streets, and yet, with every step in my squishy slippers I was reminded how much it didn’t matter. I climbed carefully into the rig, placed her in the carseat and buckled her in as she and I continued to both cry. The paramedics tried to assure me that she would be fine. I rejected their words. “You need to understand something,” I stammered in brokenness. “This is a mother’s worst fear. To leave her child in the care of another, and knowing that I could arrive at the hospital and something have happened to her while I was not with her. I am leaving her with you. Do NOT let anything happen to my baby.”

I said goodbye to Kaycee and I climbed out of the ambulance, acknowledging that I may never see her again.

Back in the house, Kris tried to calm me down once more. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was focused on one thing only. My shoes. I needed to find my shoes so I could drive to the hospital. But then…I was reminded of Sadie Rose and Dani. I didn’t want them to be afraid. So, I grabbed their “B” and their “I” along with their princess dolls and walked over to Miss Shannon’s house. Praise the Lord for candy canes and cartoons. The girls were delighted and doing just fine. I let them know we were going to go see Kaycee at the hospital and everything was going to be fine.

Was it? Was it a lie? Was everything going to be fine? Panic began to set in again. I walked back into our house to get the diaper bag and my coat. Why would the diaper bag matter? Did it really matter if she was dying? And why my coat? I was already soaked with rain. Nothing made sense. I told Kris I would be waiting in the car, as he locked the house and grabbed his own shoes. Did I mention that his head was still spinning from having the flu? This man. Amazing man. Sick as a dog just moments before, running through the rain and traffic to save the life of our baby. Amazing man.

I sat in the car and posted something on Facebook. Does it seem silly? It was the only thing I could do in that moment. Ask for prayer. Sometimes I hate social media. Today, I praised God. And the prayer chains began…

In the car, we pulled away, and headed into the traffic. We attempted the freeway for one stint of our journey only to pull right off due to the storm. Today was not the day for Southern California drivers to get in my way. Does nobody know how to drive in the rain!? So, back onto the main roads and through each light we came to a stop…and a long awaited go. Each light. My knuckles became whiter on the wheel. I remained more calm then ever, but the storm inside was raging. The trauma. I kept feeling the bottle cap in my fingers, just barely slipping from my grip. I kept hearing my screaming and the words, “Mary, she is dying.”

Kris and I tried to talk as we drove. I tried to stay distracted away from the panic, but to no avail. It came in waves. Like the rain gushing down.

And then the best phone call I have ever received. My mother had arrived at the hospital before us. She was holding Kaycee. Kaycee was smiling. And the doctors said she would be ok.

Moments later we pulled into Kaiser and ran across the parking lot. Into emergency we were led and into a massive room with a little baby girl in pink, crying. Covered in blood and spit up. But crying. And alive. And oh so very happy to see her mommy.

I sat on the hospital floor and rocked her in my arms. We just held each other. And I cried.

From behind me, I saw the uniforms. Three police officers entered the room. The female officer that had saved her life, followed by her sergeant and her lieutenant. A few questions were asked, but primarily, we all just wanted photos. Photos of baby Kaycee and the woman who saved her life. Her name is Janet. She wanted a picture too.

Her sergeant informed us that Office Janet Ramos was a decorated medical vet from Iraq. She had saved many lives, and was probably the best person to have on the scene. Embarrassed by the compliment, Officer Ramos quickly interjected, “But this was the first baby.” We smiled and praised the Lord.

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We were released from the hospital just minutes later, and with a goodbye hug from Officer Ramos, we were out the door. Out the door with our baby Kaycee, alive, breathing, crying. And oh, her crying was sweet. Crying. Life.

Home now. The evening has come. The girls are all asleep in bed, and Mommy and Daddy are quickly headed in that direction. But before the night came to an end, I need to write this story. The story of God’s amazing sovereign and miraculous hand of protection over our family. Every. Step. Everything orchestrated perfectly by God.

I will never forget this day. The trauma will continue in my mind. But tonight, I can praise God… Praise God for my baby girls ability to crawl to me, stand up and tell me something was wrong. Praise God for my husbands ability to keep the cap from lodging further and for running into the rain to save her life. Praise God for the rain that slowed down the cars as they drove by our home. Praise God for the call that was made a few blocks down forcing Officer Ramos to be driving by our home. Praise God for her medical training and quick thinking. And tonight, I praise God for my crying baby…who is alive.

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I Believe…

Perhaps you are good at hiding your doubts and no one but you knows the paralyzing power they have on your life. – Renee Swope, A Confident Heart

The panic attacks began a little over a year ago.

I had come to the end of a stress-impacted season, which had begun with the death of my father. I didn’t have time to grieve, and so I masked my pain with the busyness of life, work, and academics. Once the school year came to an end, I had no more disguise. The emotion was overwhelming. The panic set in.

For a year now, I have lived with extreme doubts, anxieties, phobias, and internal, unexplainable panic. My powerlessness to control situations and my inability to “keep it all together” has led to disfunction in relationships, the inability to complete tasks, and my lack of motivation to pursue dreams. Very few knew. I wear a smile. Dress to impress. Hide the doubts. And dismiss oddities and indiosyncrisies as my A-type personality.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder? Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Who knows.

It doesn’t matter.

It just feels terrible.

Just when I thought I was going to drown, a professor at my university shared with me five simple words that have become a mantra for him in his battle against fear–”This Is Not From Him.” I have repeated these words many times for the last few months, and yet the panic continues.

It is not enough to remind myself that doubt, fear, and anxiety are not from the Lord.

Rather I must rely upon what IS from the Lord.

What are His truths? What do I believe?

I believe I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)

I believe he is making me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I believe my hope is found in Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)

I believe the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

I believe the Lord is trustworthy (2 Samuel 7:28)

I believe that the Lord is with me and I need not fear (Isaiah 41:10)

I believe the Lord is working all things together for good (Romans 8:28)

And in these beliefs…these promises from God, I rest.

And the panic begins to fade.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idelenss.
Her children rise up an call her blessed.

Proverbs 31:25-28a

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today, August 20th, we celebrate three amazing people in our lives.

Our dear friend, Ellen Fagundes who currently lives in Oregon but even from a distance continues to bless us with her words of encouragement, prayers, and silly pictures and memes on Facebook. Thank you Ellen…and Happy Birthday!

My brother, Andrew Pryfogle, who continues to amaze our family with his business ventures, cycling adventures, and fantastic culinary arts. Yum! We love you Andrew…and Happy Birthday!

And lastly…my mother! Pamela D. Pryfogle (she hate’s it when people call her Pamela).

Mom, we celebrate you today!

You are full of joy and laughter, embracing the adventures of life with courage and boldness.

You are a woman of integrity, speaking the truth of your heart and living your life in honest transparency.

You are a friend to many, providing Godly counsel and encouragement.

You are a grandmother of ten (yes, I am counting Matthew), seeking always to love each grandchild in their own special way.

You are a mother of five… well… mother of five… enough said.

You are a wife to one, whom you will always love and cherish.

And for me… you are the epitome of the Proverbs 31 Woman, delighting yourself daily in the Lord and desiring the best for your home and for your family.

Words cannot fully express the gratitude that fills my heart for the strong and wise woman of God you have continued to be in my life.

I love you. And I celebrate you!

No Marriage, No Kids

marydavidson:

A beautiful story of God’s sovereign plan, his healing, and his redemption. Blessed to read the words of this miraculous story.

Originally posted on stephaniedritchie:

Ok, so now that I have got your attention with my witty and yet alarming title, let me explain what I mean. You know I am married, and now have a kid. I am NOT saying I do not want to be married or have kids. What I AM saying is that I USE to think that way. Growing up, I didn’t have the best of childhoods. Being the youngest of 5 children, living with alcoholic and depressed and angry parents was no picnic. That is not to say that I knew any better though. My whole world until I was 16 was like this. My mom should never have gotten married, let alone have 5 kids. Even in speaking to her about this, she does not deny it. The only kid she really wanted was the 1st one, and then she had 5, from 3 different men. Being the…

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Back to the Grind…Kicking And Screaming All the Way!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Time for some total transparency. Really? On a public blog? Hey…I’ve already shared the details of a birthing story. Clearly I’m not too concerned about y’all knowing a few more intimate details about the struggles of my heart. So here goes…

I’m a working mom. Not by choice, but by circumstance. As life would have it right now, we find ourselves in a financial situation that requires I work full-time.

But here I am, after almost two months of maternity leave, preparing to go back to work tomorrow…

And all I can do is cry.

Now, this is where some might say, “Don’t get me wrong, I love my job.” But the truth of the matter is, I don’t love my job. My job is ok. My job is fun sometimes. My job is rewarding sometimes. My job pays the bills. But, I don’t LOVE my job.

I love my family. I love my home. I love waking up each morning to spend time in the Word without the rush and panic of trying to get ready for work. I love eating three meals a day with my children and watching them delight over simple treats that I have made. I love nursing Kaycee every three hours and staring deeply into her precious eyes. I love hanging out with my husband in the garage any time I want. And I love the freedom and time to engage with friends and women of God via the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, times of prayer and fellowship, and via this blog.

But the time has come for me to go back to work, and all of this will change.

For the last many weeks I have been wrestling with hearing the voice of God and being obedient to his direction. And with the recent beginning of the #YestoGod study, I find myself facing this wrestling match even more. My greatest fear is that I will chose the wrong path and be living in disobedience to God.

Am I being obedient to God by going back to a job that he has provided?

Or am I being disobedient by not staying at home with my family?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. As much as I have tried to figure it out over the last many months, I don’t know the answers nor the direction I am to take. And so this morning, with a horrible ache in my heart, I surrender. As we find in Jeremiah 29:13, I commit to first and foremost, seeking the Lord with all of my heart.

The only way to know and trust God.. is to spend time with Him. When we invest in spending time alone with God, He will speak to us, and what we hear from Him in these quiet times will be echoed in other places. – Lysa TerKeurst, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.

Father God, I want to see you. I want to know you. I want to hear your voice. And I want to live in complete surrender and obedience to you. You alone truly know the depths of my heart and my desires. You know the ache in my soul as I prepare to say goodbye to my children, my husband, and my home tomorrow morning. I know your promises are true, and when I seek you with all of my heart I will find you. As I seek you, reveal yourself to me, and bring clarity to the path of obedience. 

Whatever It Takes

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)

When my husband and I were first married almost six years ago we adopted a motto to apply in our marriage–whatever it takes. We committed to do whatever it takes to protect and preserve our marriage, and without a doubt, this motto has been put to the test a number of times. We have encountered dark valleys, grief, pain, and even some nightmares, and yet, we have held on for dear life, doing whatever we need to do to save our marriage.

Staying up all night for a fight? Whatever it takes.

Giving up the potential for extra income? Whatever it takes.

Ending friendships? Whatever it takes.

Taking a leave of absence from school? Whatever it takes.

Selling belongings? Whatever it takes.

Throwing away old jewelry, photographs, and memories? Whatever it takes.

Changing eating, sleeping, and living habits? Whatever it takes.

This morning, as I think about the journey we have traveled in our marriage, I am also reminded of my journey with the Lord. He too is asking me to do whatever it takes to protect and preserve my relationship with him. When I am loving God with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my might, I am willing to do whatever it takes!

Staying up all night for a fight? Whatever it takes.

Giving up the potential for extra income? Whatever it takes.

Ending friendships? Whatever it takes.

Taking a leave of absence from school? Whatever it takes.

Selling belongings? Whatever it takes.

Throwing away old jewelry, photographs, and memories? Whatever it takes.

Changing eating, sleeping, and living habits? Whatever it takes.

Yes, these same struggles, challenges, and changes are sometimes necessary when striving to love God with all our heart, soul, and might. Am I willing to do whatever it takes to love God? And is it even possible?

How do I love God with all of my soul when my soul is thirsty and downcast (Psalm 42)?

How do I love God with all of my strength when I am weak and pitiful (Psalm 6:2)?

How do I love God with all of my heart when my heart is evil, deceitful and sick (Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9)?

I  have come to learn that I alone cannot do whatever it takes, in my own power and in my flesh, to love the Lord. I am weak, downcast, evil and in desperate need of the spirit of God to dwell richly in me, so that I can love him with all of the love that he has poured upon me. It is by his soul that I can love with all of my soul (Job 33:4; Psalm 51:10). It is by his strength that I can love with all of my strength (Psalm 18; 2 Corinthians 12:10). It is by his heart that I can love with all of my heart (Psalm 73:26).

And so, with #palmsup, I must surrender to God, allowing his heart, soul, and strength to permeate my being, equipping me to do whatever it takes to love him and live in obedience to him.

So, here I go, once again letting go of my own super powers (as if I had any) and letting God help me fly–doing whatever it takes not only in the marriage with which he has blessed me, but even more so in my relationship with Him.

 

 

Saying Yes to God…

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It all started the day God told me to give away my Bible.

The first sentence excites my heart. Like the first scene of a grand adventure. But for me, this is a familiar tale.

I spent last summer with some of the young women from our church  reading through “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst. I was challenged at that time by her stories and wisdom shared.

But now, as I begin this book yet again (with, might I add, over 22,000 women on the Online Bible Studies, praise the Lord!) I find myself excited by the first line–remembering the lessons learned last summer and anticipating the lessons anew and life changing challenges that will come when I surrender to the Lord and with #palmsup say yes to God.

On this next step in my spiritual journey, I want to learn and re-learn what it means to simply whisper yes to God regardless of what the Lord is calling me to do. I am challenged by a new prayer for each morning…

God, I want to see you. God, I want to hear you. God, I want to know you. God, I want to follow hard after you. And before I know what I will face today, I say yes to you.

Trust. Faith. Obedience. These are the lessons that are to be learned as I surrender to the Lord. In just a few pages into the book I feel my heart being broken, refined in the fire. It is painful and exciting at the same time, and I am ready for this journey.

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