Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is God Evil?

I wrote a paper in grad school that referenced this truth.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Doug Fields Resigns from Saddleback Church

As a PDYM state mentor I learned of Doug Fields' resignation from Saddleback Church last week. It's not juicy gossip material but a testimony of great leadership and sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Below you can read the full story directly from Doug, with opening and closing comments from Rick Warren, but one thing that Warren said at the end is this:

"I've learned this important truth: God calls people through Saddleback, not to Saddleback. What that means is that God calls just the right person, at just the right time, to both serve our church and to learn from our church. Then he sends them out to other places as missionaries. We now have former Saddleback staff serving as missionaries in other churches and ministries all around the world. I call them our purpose driven agents!"

I love that!

Read the full resignation story here.

Head in Toilet Prank ... Very Funny!

This Week @ Planet Impact

Seeing God in All Things

The Great Chain of Being was a synthesis that held together for us one coherent world. It was a “cosmic egg” of meaning, a vision of a Creator and a multitude of creatures that excluded nothing (See Colossians 1:15-20) from holiness and goodness.

As the medieval Christians predicted, once the chain was broken, and one link not honored, the whole vision collapsed. Either we acknowledge that God is in all things or we have lost the basis for seeing God in anything. When we could not honor God in the earth, waters, plants, and animals, we soon could not see or honor the divine image in ourselves or in other humans.

Richard Rohr, Adapted from Hope Against Darkness (p. 136)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 40 Day Love Dare

Adriana and I just finished reading The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick. It can be done by each spouse individually and then discussed together as a couple, but we took the route of reading each lesson together before bed. Though as seasoned Christians none of the lessons were incredibly profound, they were nonetheless great, simple reminders that caused us to reflect on ourselves as individuals and on our relationship together as a couple. It was a great, marriage-strengthening, bonding time that we really enjoyed together. I would highly recommend the book as a worthy investment. It would also make a great gift for newlyweds.

Amazing Juggling! Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Poverty Abounding in Riches

"Too often, Christian liberty is spoken of as the freedom from sacrifice of our own will or enjoyment. Its real meaning is the very opposite" - I.Q, Spencer in Daily Seedings (September 25th)

"Through Christ Our Lord, Amen."

This is from an e-mail devotional I receive called Richard's Daily Meditations. I thought today's on prayer was especially insightful. Selah! Enjoy!

Question of the day:
How can I be God’s conduit?

[Notice that] all of the great liturgical prayers of the churches end with the same phrase: “through Christ our Lord, Amen.” We do not pray to Christ; we pray through Christ. Or even more precisely, Christ prays through us. We are always and forever the conduits, the instruments, the tuning forks, the receiver stations (Romans 8:22-27). We slowly learn the right frequencies that pick up the signal.

The core task of all good spirituality is to teach us to “cooperate” with what God already wants to do and has already begun to do (Romans 8:28). In fact, nothing good would even enter our minds unless in the previous moment God had not already “moved” within us. We are always and forever merely seconding the motion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Prayer ...

"It is good to debate the mysteries of prayer, to ponder the profundities of prayer, to learn the methods of prayer. It is better to pray.

"Prayer is a little like an automobile: you do not have to understand everything about its inner workings for it to get you somewhere. I have found that if we simply pray - even if we pray in wrong ways - God is pleased with our feeble efforts and Jesus lovingly guides us into more excellent ways. Also, we can be assured that the blessed Holy Spirit will adjust, correct, and interpret our prayer before the throne of God."

(Richard Foster, Devotional Classics, p. 131.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

This Week @ Planet Impact

Saturday, September 19, 2009

JK Divorce Dance (The Sequel to the Wedding Dance)

Baby "Blood" ... Funny Video

Check out this funny video clip. Clip here to see on YouTube.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Brother Getting Tazed!

This is my brother Ben who volunteered to test out a tazer at his job. 50,000 volts of electricity! He's a nut! DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

Meeting Crashers ... CLASSIC!

Fall Kick Off Service ... Debut of our Youth Choir!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tommy's Coming Home!

This evening I got a message that Tommy and Naomi Pierro are booked on a flight to come home on Thursday night! I was pleasantly surprised by this news as I was anticipating that he would have another week in the hospital, and then I thought they would probably want to keep him around the San Diego area for a few days for observation to ensure everything was OK. But, I guess after having his chest tubes taken out and with his breathing levels being maintained, they feel he is good to go, so praise the Lord! This is a real answer to prayer for Tommy personally as he wanted to be home in time for his cousin's wedding this Friday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Help me Reach 1,000 Books Sold!

Hi Friends! Could you do me a quick favor? Think of someone who would enjoy and benefit from What Would You Do? - either yourself, a friend, a student, a youth worker, volunteers, small group leaders, really anyone - and let them know about this special being offered in an effort to reach 1,000 books sold! We're almost there! Here's the special:

1-5 copies - $10 per book (shipping & handling included)
5-10 copies - $8 per book (shipping & handling included)
11+ copies - $7 per book (shipping & handling included)

Make checks payable to: Kevin Mahaffy

Mail to: 58 Brooksite Dr. Smithtown, NY 11787

Thanks for your support!


When Puppet Cats Strike Back!

My daughter loves playing with the cat. He's an ornery old fella, and sometimes he decides he doesn't like playing little girl games. This was one of those times!

Tonight & This Week @ Planet Impact

New Family Hobby!

With both of the girls learning to ride their bikes this summer, a couple of weeks ago I surprised Adriana and got us both bikes so we could ride together as a family. We've enjoyed rides around our neighborhood, to the park, on some trails behind our home, to get pizza and Italian Ice, and even an adventurous (and a bit scary) 5.5 mile ride to St. James (which we won't be doing again any time soon. Too many NY drivers flying by us. The girls did awesome and were such troopers, though! For now we'll just stick to less congested roads near the house.) We've really had a great time sharing this fun new hobby together and look forward to many more shared experiences on the bikes!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On Way Home from San Diego

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tommy Pierro Update Friday, September 11th

New Research: Which High School Students Are Most Likely to Graduate College?

Parents: Stop fretting so much about which high school your youngsters attend or how they score on the SATs. If you want your student to make it to a bachelor's degree, it's far more important for him or her to earn at least B's in high school and reach for the best possible college. Oh, and saving a few thousand bucks by sending your kid to a community college could turn out to be an expensive mistake.

Some of the nation's best-respected educational researchers are likely to reconsider much conventional wisdom today with the release of surprising findings from an analysis of educational records of more than 200,000 freshmen who started at public four-year colleges in 1999.

Read the full article with findings here.

Tommy Pierro Update from Thursday, September 10th

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tommy Pierro Full Update Wednesday, September 9th - Full Version

I just wrote this whole note and it erased on me!! So here we go again!! I texted as many people as I could think of today but for those of you who don't know TOMMY GOT HIS TUBE OUT TODAY!!!!!!!! PRAISE JESUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so sorry I left you all with that sad note this morning and didnt' have a computer nearby to let you all know. But now you do! I am so elated it's not even funny!! Praise God for His faithfulness! He is so good! Just when I had felt like I was losing hope and couldn't wait anymore He blessed us with this. So i guess 9/9/09 WAS a good day after all. Someone told me that the number 9 means something like fruitful and a harvest. Well, there was definitely a lot of fruit that came out of this trying time that God has done. There is a song I sang in church awhile back called "You are Good" I think, by Point of Grace. Every verse has a different situation and how God is still good in it. Then there's the one verse that talks about the storm, "when the world has gone gray and the rains here to stay you are still good" And He is! That song just kept replaying in my head for days. He's taught me so much about His faithfulness and love throughout this whole ordeal. Even when things weren't going the way I thought they should, He was still good and I kept praising Him. Then this morning when I felt like I was at the end of my rope I sat down to read my devotional of the day and it was all about having patience and trusting in God. It talked about how we can't expect to have those things just instantly but He allows trials and situations for us to practice them. And I knew He was just talking to me telling me He would help me through this but He's teaching me something in the process.
So, I was just worshipping Him on my 45 minute drive there and prayed for strength as I walked into his room and what did I see before me??!! Tommy sitting up in bed with NO TUBE DOWN HIS THROAT!! I just stood there in awe for like 10 seconds frozen with my jaw at my ankles and said "is the tube gone?!!!!" I threw down my stuff and ran to the bedside and hugged and kissed him. I was beyond ecstatic! I stopped and we just prayed together thanking Jesus because I don't want to just come to Him when times are tough but to remember to thank Him when He answers our prayers. We just prayed and cried and hugged and were just sooo happy!!!
He can talk too! I heard some people can't talk for a couple of days and I thought his throat would hurt so bad but he is really not in a lot of pain and he talks just above a whisper so I have to lean in to make sure I hear all he has to say so he doesn't have to repeat himself but it's a million times better than pointing to letters on the clipboard! So not only is he talking, but they got him out of the bed today and sat him up in a chair. He got to "eat" today too. Liquids only like jello and soup and stuff. He finally got the ice chips he had been begging us for. He was entirely happy and grateful to have so much more than just a wet swab in his mouth to stop the dryness! And I was so happy to see it!! The doctors were saying how amazing he was doing for only being off the tube today and will maybe be out of ICU and itnto a regular room by tomorrow or Friday. A lot of the nurses who helped take care of him this past week kept popping in all day to see him and said how happy they were to see him up and better. It was so nice! Tommy was so overwhelmed at their sincerity and was thanking the ones he remembered for taking such good care of him. That's another thing, they all said he would remember nothing of this past week but he remembered alot! I kept asking him if he remembered stuff he said and we said to him and he actually did for most of it! I was talking all day to him about everything that went on and told him about all of you who have been reading and concerned and praying for him and commenting everyday with words of encouragement. He was just blown away by all the people who care about him and us and was pretty teary eyed most of the day. Overwhelmed by everything and how God's gotten him through it.
So this has been the best day by far!!! Barring the day he finally gets to come out of the hospital with me!! I cannot wait til we are back home with all of you, but at least now the worst is hopefully over and we can just be together waiting for him to fully recover to leave.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tommy Pierro Update Wednesday, September 9th

Just spoke with Naomi who was really excited because Tommy got his breathing tube out today! Yeah! He's talking, but with a bit of an understandable whisper, as I am sure his throat is sore. Nevertheless, he is surely relieved to have it out.

I am getting up at 4 a.m. and going to LaGuardia. I am flying out to San Diego to spend a couple of days with Tommy and Naomi. Pray that I will be able to be a support and a blessing to them. Also pray for safe, good travels.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tommy Pierro Full Update Monday, September 7th

Today was another great day! He didn't come off the ventilator yet but he is getting sooo much better. The doctor is hoping tomorrow to really do it. He is at 40% oxygen and the peep is down to 5. He did breathing exercises today where they almost completely take him off and he just sits and breathes on his own. He did it this morning for about 2 hours and then again this afternoon for the same. He did very well! His oxygen levels stayed up everything else was reading well. So they think they've got a great chance tomorrow! Praise God! We also just had a great time together as a family with him. He was wide awake today and was able to communicate with us. We have a clipboard with the letters of the alphabet written across it and he points to letters to spell words he's trying to say. We could see his real self today. He was joking with us and making fun of us and stuff. :-> He would take all this time to spell out sentences just to make us laugh. He asked us if we ate butterscotch rocks pancakes at Ihop and we sadly had to tell him they told us they discontinued it. He playfully hit me cuz those are his favorite! Also another time he wanted me to take off the cold cloth from his forehead and when I asked him if he wanted me to re-wet it and put it back on he made a face like "of course" and then spelled to his parents "is she new?" Because he is ALWAYS hot. At another point he was doing this funny handshake with me that we do sometimes. Just a lot of things like that. We were cracking up most of the day at how lucid and sharp he was and just the things he was saying and doing. It was so nice to have his brother and sister here. They have to leave tomorrow, so it was wonderful they had a full day where he was really awake and knew they were there. He and his brother got to chat about sports and stuff. And we watched tennis and stuff together. It was a good time.
Also, he seems to be remembering things from days past. The nurses all said he wouldn't really remember stuff. But we asked him some questions about things he asked the other day, like when he asked me to call his friend Frank to make sure he knew he was okay. He said he remembered when I told him I did call him today. Also this cute woman from the nearby church came in last Thursday to pray for him when we weren't there. She came in again today and he recognized her and remembered her praying. So, his brain is really working. He's remembering things and is totally sharp in his thought process and things he's saying to us.
And he amazingly seems to not be in any real significant pain. We thought he'd have to be asleep whenever he had the tube down his throat because the thought of it is just so uncomfortable. But it seems to be just annoying not really painful. And his chest was cracked open in the surgery but that seems to just be healing and isn't anything he ever complains about. Whenever we ask him if he's in pain he says no. The only things he needs are mouth swabs because his mouth is very dry, obviously from the tube. He just wants a drink so bad! One of the nurses came in to ask us if we wanted anything to drink. We all declined but he raised his hand kidding cuz he knew he couldn't but really is dying for one. So i can't wait until he gets that out and can get some water and can swallow again! :->
So, things seem to finally be moving along! God is good and has been even when everything seemed to be going wrong. Well, I can't wait to come home and see you all again!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tommy Pierro Update Monday, September 7th

His oxygen is down to 40% today. woo hoo!!!! Don't know about the Peep and have not heard anything about removing the tube today. But we will be heading over there soon and we will see. I'm just happy he is progressing!!! Praise God! - Naomi

President Obama's Speech to Students for Tomorrow

Here are the President's prepared remarks for the nation's students tomorrow.

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

Read the rest here.


Here's a good meditation on Mystery from Fr. Richard Rohr that I receive daily. Very good!


Our faith is not in words. Our faith is in a person and a real relationship. Our faith is in God, who is revealing the divine self to us in everything that happens to us. As Paula D’Arcy says, “God comes to us disguised as our life.” Mature faith calls us into a personal dialogue with Life as it is, not a slavish attachment to ideas or words. Words are not reality itself. Mere attachment to words leads to fundamentalist religion, which is invariably exclusionary and elitist, and lacking in real experience.

The Scriptures call us into a personal struggle with the angels of Yahweh, like Jacob who “struggled with God and won” (Genesis 32:24-31). In our necessary wrestling match with God, we come to an open and free space called faith. Faith is not just another competing ideology with other world views or religions. It is more a process than a conclusion, more a way of relating than a way of explaining, more a wrestling match than a classroom lesson. More love and acceptance of mystery than a demand for answers.

Tommy Pierro Update Sunday, September 6

His oxygen is back down to 50% today but his Peep is still at 10. The nurse said that once his O2 goes down to at least 40 they will start weaning his peep down. So stil may be a couple of days until they can try again the take out the tube. The nurse said today is a good day though. He has been sustaining his O2 when they move him and put him on a new sedation-Propothol which he is alot calmer on and is helping him all around. We believe that God is meeting with him during this time and sharing His heart with Him. We are praying that this is just God's will for him to heal while asleep and once he wakes up it will be a quick recovery and not longer because of the longer time on the respirator. It's hard though because his family will be leaving this Wednesday. We thought he would've been awake and off the tube for almost a week before they left and they would've been able to spend time together. But that is not the way God is orchestrating it.
We were so blessed this morning visiting a church out here that Pastor Todd hooked us up with. We are on their prayer list and the music and main pastor have visited and prayed with us and him a couple of times as well as some of the elders too. We loved the church! They have such a sweet spirit about them and we were very ministered to this morning and feel refreshed in the Lord! Praise God for the family of Christ! I also have a friends family that me and Tommy stayed with before the surgery. I will stay with them still. They have become like family to me so even after his family leaves I will not be alone out here while he's in the hospital. And ultimately God is with us and I love Him more than anything!! :-)

September 6 Part 2-
Today was a great day! As I said his oxygen was down to 50% and while we were there they were able to move his Peep down to 6!!! Praise God!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has been sustaining his oxygen too while they move him and things like that. He was a lot calmer today on the new sedation. It's so funny because they have him on this one sedation called versed I think. And the nurse told me that when she saw the amount of it he was on she couldn't believe that he still keeps waking up. She has never had a patient who woke up that much on that much versed. I think his will is so strong he just doesn't want to fall asleep. Especially when we, as his family are there, he keeps trying to communicate with us. He has been so much more awake lately, opening his eyes at the slightest sound. He's been able to point to a clipboard with letters on it to try to communicate. He usually just wants to have his mouth swabbed out because it's so dry or to be moved up and down. But once he knows we are there he can't just lay there he has to try and hang out with us even though we keep telling him he has to sleep. Sal was abel to tell him about Yankee updates and he looked interested. He also smiled once or twice. A nurse that was helping out told him she liked his hair and he smiled. I told her he does it on his own. He was so cute. Also, while the music we have always playing in the background was on, it looked like he was actually tapping to the beat. He was tapping his foot and drumming with his hands. I said "I think he's drumming to the song" It was really funny. So anyway, I was so happy and refreshed today from this morning at church and then all of the good news of the day. So I am just PRAYING that his levels stay down and do not creep back up!! The doctor came in and was so excited himself and said we could maybe try again tomorrow to take out the tube if it goes down even more, if not hopefully Tuesday. It would be wonderful if it happened tomorrow because then Heather and Sal will be able to spend time with him awake before they leave on Tuesday. So we will see! God knows! :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Day I Suddenly Knew Kung Fu ... Another Gem!

Tommy Update September 5th

Called his nurse this morning. His oxygen is back up to 80% and peep at 10. If you've read my past note you know they need to be at 40 and 5 to even consider trying to take out the tube. So it's still a no go for today. :-( Have no idea now how long this process is going to take. Guess we can only take it one day at a time.

Tommy Update September 4th

So, not much happened today. He is still not ready for the tubes to be taken out. They didn't even try today because his levels weren't up to par. He needs to only be relying on 40% of oxygen or lower. And this other level called the peep level needs to be at 5. They were both there yesterday but today for some reason, his oxygen was up to 70% this morning and his peep up to 9. The doctors told us in the beginning not to be worried but his levels could just fluctuate like that without warning. Our main doctor told us that he was so mad this morning when he saw that because he really wanted to take him off of it today but is not worried. It will get there. But it is taking longer because of the injury to his lung. So you can pray that his lungs heal up and he will be able to breathe on his own soon. Unless God WANTS him to be asleep for this long so that he can heal without being awake, I don't know. But it's getting hard to keep going on like this.
Today he kept waking up alot. And was actually able to write to the nurses. This morning he tried to write but it only came out in a scribble but later on he was able to ask the nurse in writing "Where am I?" because they said patients of this surgery and are sedated like this get confused and forget what's going on even 5 minutes later. He had a new nurse, Kevin, tonight and he was very nice and explained a lot to us. He said for us to talk to him, he knows we are there and can answer yes or no questions by nodding his head or shaking it no. So we did a little. We were able to find out he was comfortable but wanted to sit up and that he wanted a cold cloth on his forhead. The end of the night after we prayed with him, and we said goodnight he grabbed my hand and was trying to tell me something. I felt so bad because he was getting frustrated and we couldn't understand what he was trying to say. He tried writing but couldn't get it out. Then, (mom you'll like this) I asked him if he remembered sign language and he shook his head yes and actually started signing letters. He only ended up spelling "lemon" which didn't make sense and Kevin said he's out of it and really doesn't know what he's trying to say. But I was still so proud of him that he could actually remember how to sign and he acknowledged that those were the letters he meant and was trying to say. That's not as easy as just remembering how to spell things. So that made me happy at least that his brain is really functioning. I felt bad though, he seemed like he wanted to tell me he wanted something so bad but Kevin said we should just go because he needs to sleep and won't even remeber this later on. So we left.
They will check his levels again tomorrow and it will just keep continuing like this for awhile. Once he is off the breathing tube he can wake up and start eating and talking. So i cannot wait for that!! But all in God's timing

Tommy Update September 3rd

September 3rd
Hello everyone! I have to write quickly so I can get in the shower. I didn't have time at all yesterday to write because I was so exhausted, so this is yesterdays update today. And yesterday I wrote stuff down as soon as the doctor left the room so I could remember as much as possible (thanks Robyn) So, as I said on my status update they were again unable to take out the breathing tube. They said that when they woke him up he was calm and not anxious but he was still having to work way too hard to breathe on his own and they knew he wasn't ready. The risks of keeping the breathing tube in too long is that there's a greater risk of getting pnemonia, but the risk of taking it out and not being able to breathe is obviously far greater. They think he's having a hard time getting rid of it because of something called a reperfusion injury of the lung, which I think causes a leakage and that is from the clots being in for so long and the body not knowing how to pump blood without them there. But the doctor said this is something that will go away soon and not something he has to live with, which I was worried about. Even though he still can't breathe on his own, the doctors are still so happy with his progress. All the levels are going where they want them to be and said it's a good sign they are even trying everyday to get him off it because they wouldn't even try if what they read was not good. So, he said to not worry if he was doing bad he would tell us but he is very happy with how he's been doing. He told us that he was really bad after the surgery which doesn't happen normally til the next day and he was inflammed or something inside and the nurse said she'd never seen anything that bad. But it has been coming down everyday and has been doing significantly better. The doctor said he is doing "miraculously" from where he was on Monday. So praise God for that!! He also said that during the surgery his muscle mass worked against him. Something like the muscles need oxygen and when they weren't getting it they start releasing a poison into the blood stream. If he was just a skinny guy that wouldn't have happened. So that was another reason he's going slower than most. Most of the patients are either women or 70 year old men. But the fact that he is in such good shape and muscular, they say will help him now to get better.
Oh, i just wanted to clear something up. That picture of the clots is not actually "clots" it is the scar tissue that formed around the clots. The body tries to dissolve it and when it can't it just becomes a part of the pulmonary arteries and forms scar tissue around it. So that is still the size of the clots and what was blocking his breathing. Just incase some of you are nurses or anything and are wondering how those could be clots, they are not,they are scar tissue. And i thought it was a 15 inch ruler on the bottom, but it was 15 centimeters which is 6 inches. Still big.
So yesterday was hard because at one point he woke up so much more than he ever had. He was looking at me and trying to move and swallow and looked like he was trying to say something as if he was in pain and I didn't know what he wanted and wanted him to fall back asleep so he wouldn't be uncomfortable and I just burst into tears. I had been there day after day holding it back and I just could not take it anymore! The nurse came in and gave him more pain killers and I told her I thought he was in pain but as she asked him questions it came out that he just had to go to the bathroom. He didn't know he was hooked up and could just go. So, she told him he could and fixed the medication and soon he fell back asleep. She is sooo nice! I cried to her twice that day. All of the other nurses probably think I have no feelings cuz I've seemed okay and then I just wept to nurse Sarah. She probably thinks I'm a basket case. :-) but she was soooo kind and comforted me and got me tissues and kept reassuring me he wasn't in any pain and kept asking me if I was okay. :-) she said she would be back today which makes me so happy when we see the same nurse taking care of him (especially if we like them) :-> So that was the toughest day so far. But as always, God is good and prepared me for the day yesterday morning with a wonderful time of worship with just me and Him. He is faithful. So, they are going to try again today. Heather and I are trying to get there around 10am when they usually try so we can be there to hear right away what their plans are. The doctor thinks it still may not be until tomorrow but they will try anyway.
I will try to write later tonight and let you know what happens today. Thanks again!! :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Pilgrim's Progress

I just finished reading the classic book The Pilgrim's Progress. It was an enjoyable read and I enjoyed the book's focus on the journey of faith that we are all on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Get Germ Smart!

With school about to start, our school administrators have been in some important informational meetings with other area school administrators about the swine flu. Here are two videos that reveal the powerful advice he has been given to help prevent the spread of the swine flu. The first one is directly from the Secretary of Health & Human Services, but the second is far more enjoyable! PRACTICAL & PROFOUND! Enjoy! lol

Tommy Pierro Updates

My friend and youth worker Tommy Pierro recently went to San Diego for a very special and unique surgery to remove clots from his lungs. His wife Naomi has been keeping us updated via Facebook, so I wanted to pass along those updates for the sake of clarity regarding what's happening and also for points of prayer.

Update # 1 August 31
Hello everyone! There's not enough room on just my status update so I figured I would just write a note. Hopefully everyone who's interested in knowing is able to figure out how to read this. Anyway thank you sooooo sooooooooooo much everyone for praying! I'm sorry you all were not able to be updated earlier but I've been at the hospital all day and away from a computer. It is now 10:00 my time but 1am yours.
So, I slept over night at the hospital with him last night and got up with him around 5:30 am when the nurses came in to get him ready. I was allowed to stay with him in the pre-op room from 6-6:45am, then they took him away for anesthesia and all that stuff. The whole procedure probably actaully started around 8 and one of the doctors came out to tell us the blood clot removal portion was over around 2:15 and he was totally done around 4 ish. The surgery itself was only about 2 hours long, the rest of the time is spent cooling his body down to 16 degrees Celsius and then warming it back up to normal.
His parents and I got to go into the ICU around 4:30 to see him. He wasn't awake though. He's got a breathing tube down his throat and all kinds of IV's in him. So, as far as anyone can tell the surgery went well. The doctors got all of the blood clots out and there were ALOT of them. I am enclosing a picture of the clots for those of you who would like to see that sort of thing. The line on the bottom is a 15 inch ruler if you want to get an idea of how big they are. The biggest ones are probably about 6 inches or so. Two of them, you can see are the whole size of one of his pulmonary arteries or something and the doctor said it was a wonder he was even walking around and breathing. Not a wonder, we know God was breathing for him!
So, continue to pray because they said nothing ever goes wrong during the surgery, if something is going to happen it's within the couple of days after. Not that we are anticipating anything going wrong, I just say that to let you know we are not totally "out of the woods" yet just because the surgery is over. His oxygen levels are not totally where they want them to be so they have to keep checking on that. Also please pray for a grace and pain tolerance for him and that if God could lessen the pain to make that happen for him because he will have to be awake when they extract the tube from his throat and all other kinds of stuff they have to do. Also that his chest would heal up quickly and that he could just be in as little pain as possible. Also for us to have the grace to watch him go through this and to be able to deal with everything that happens.
So, I think that is it for now. It was a long day. I am going to sleep hopefully for awhile. I cannot wait for bed! We will be back at the hospital tomorrow and he may even be awake. They say the whole recovery process is different for everyone so we will have to see as time goes on. I will update as much as I am able to get to my computer and as time allows. Thank you again for your prayers and concerns. We know that God is awesome and that he is with Tommy and is healing him right now. He is the only thing that sustains us. I am also praying God visits him in a special way during all this time that he is "out" from the world. I know He is doing awesome things in our lives!
Well, goodnight! I will be back soon if there's more to say. :-)
Here's a picture of the clots they removed. The stick at the bottom is a 15 inch ruler for some perspective.

Update # 2 September 1
Hi everyone! Wow! The body of Christ is overwhelming! We are so humbled and blessed by all of your love and support. There's nothing like family. I love reading all of your words of encouragement. I definitely don't feel alone! :-)
So, no more pictures today, I'm sorry. Just an update. We went to see him today but he was still sedated. He would "wake up" every now and then but not really being awake just kind of stirring and seeming restless. It's sad to see him like that but I am doing okay. He still has the breathing tube down his throat doing the breathing for him and all other kinds of tubes and iv's. His hands are strapped down to the bed so that he can't just start ripping things out. When he "wakes" his eyes open half way as if he's trying to see what's going on and he moves his hands but they just drop back when he realizes he can't go anywhere with them. Whenever I would talk to him or rub his arm or something he would stir like that so we tried to just sit in the room without doing that too much so he could just sleep. He doesn't need to be awake because it would be too uncomfortable now with the breathing tube and everything. The nurses in there are sooo great! He has one assigned to him at all times and she or he pretty much stays in the room and hardly ever leaves. The one today was so nice, she answered all of our questions and seems to be very gentle with him. They have to turn him every two hours so he doesn't get bed sores. So everytime they do that he stirs a bit. He was getting too restless just laying there this afternoon so they had to give him a stronger sedation so he could just sleep.
We saw the doctors this morning and they were so happy with the way he has been progressing. They said his levels and everything are pretty much where they would expect them to be at this stage, so praise God! In fact, the one Southern doctor told me he was "tickled" at how he was improving. I thought that was so funny. He kept using that word. :-) I told him that everyone has been praying for him. He said "oh, me too!" That was nice. So I think yesterday he was relying 100% on oxygen and today it was down to 50%, which they were very happy about. There are a whole bunch more levels that I dont' understand the meaning of but if the doctors are happy about them, then so are we. :-) They think that tomorrow (Wednesday) they could possibly be able to wake him up and take out the breathing tube. That probably wouldn't be until afternoon and may not even be at all til the next day. They have to see how he progresses and then try to wake him and test him on his ability to be aware of things and see if they think he can start breathing on his own. Once that is out they said they can pretty much take him off all of the other tubes and things that are in him as well. So, if they do that I am just praying that it is not too painful and he can just relax. Because now he is sleeping and unaware, but once they take that out he will be awake and he will know what's going on and will realize the pain that he feels. So we are just really praying for peace and not so much pain.
Well, that is it for now. I will write more tomorrow if anything happens. I am going to go call his nurse now before i go to sleep and find out if there are any changes. Thanks again. Luv you guys!
Update # 3 September 2
I finally have internet service during the afternoon so I can let you all know what's going on today instead of you guys having to wait for your tomorrow. First of all I want to stop any rumors that I've heard are floating around. Things like they had to stop in the middle of the surgery because he was doing so bad and he is in a coma and on life support. These are not true! The surgery went very well, they got all of the clots out. He just got very sick somehow right afterwards, which the doctor said usually doesn't happen til the next day or two. He said it's uncommon but not totally mind boggling and he is doing much better and progressing every day. He is also not in a coma, it is just a heavy sedation. He is aware of things going on around him and when we talk to him he tries to open his eyes and move his arms. The nurse asked him today to squeeze her hand and wiggle his toes. And he was able to do that. Also, he is not on life support!! He is only on a respirator to breathe for him because he is not able to do it himself yet. This is not from a complication of the surgery or anything, that is just what has to happen after a PTE surgery because of the sedation and the fact that there is all this unflitered blood flow that the lungs don't know what to do yet because they are so used to working around the clots.
Okay, now that that's cleared up, here is what's going on now. The doctor came in this morning and told us he was not ready today to take the breathing tube out. His levels need to be at a certain point and they are not yet. He said everytime they try to move him, his oxygen levels drop so that's not great. He did say that he is progressing every day and they are glad about that but it's just taking awhile for this next phase. His heart is pumping wonderfully and is very good, not strained anymore. He also said that everyday these levels of things can go up and down but not to be discouraged because that's just what happens. So, it won't be today to take it out, they will check tomorrow to see if he is ready and if not it could be as late as Friday or Saturday. They said not to worry though because even though it would be better to start breathing on his own it's not detrimental to keep it in there if he really still needs it, which he does.
The doctor explained so much to us and that's something you could pray for. Pray for smartness to overcome me. :-) I try sooo hard to listen and understand but I feel like they are the Charlie Brown teacher sometimes just saying "Wah wah wah". I try so hard to focus but it doesn't totally make sense. Even when I do think I understand I don't remember it later well enough to explain it to anybody. So pray for understanding in us and remembrance of important things. At least I know the doctors know what they are doing and there's nothing I can do anyway from knowing things, I just like to. And ultimately we know GOD knows everything and is in control, so that is the only thing that really comforts.
God has been so awesome through this whole thing. He has made Himself to so real to me. I've had wonderful drives to and back from the hospital with my worship music on. I feel like every song ministers to me. They sing of God's healing power, His love, His presence with us and praising Him even in the storm. I see Him in everything and am so grateful for Him. I feel like words can't even express it, but I just feel so at peace knowing that HE is the ultimate doctor taking care of Tommy and He is just so amazing!!! I can never feel alone with Him in my heart!
I am just praying that they can take out the breathing tube soon. Then he can start to wake up and move on with the healing process. I hate seeing him just laying there like that and only simply being able to move his feet or squeeze a hand. Today he started coughing which made me feel soo bad. His brow furrows and sounds like he's in pain. The nurse had to suction out his mouth and it was just not great. So, still just pray for a speedy and easy recovery. Now it is all just a waiting game.
Tommy's sister and brother, Heather and Sal will be here tonight, which we are very grateful for to have most of the family together (miss you Nicole!) :-) So, it would be nice if he could actually wake up during their stay here instead of us just watching him sleep. But the Lord knows what he needs so that's what matters.
I think that's all I know of today that I retained anyway. So I will stop babbling. I like having this to write on though. I feel like it helps me clear my mind and sort through everything that's happening. It's like a journal but 500 people are reading it. haha!! Love all of you!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Complete New Testament Resource for Youth Workers: Volume 1

Many of you know that for the last year I have been working on a writing project for Zondervan/Youth Specialties with my friend Jack Crabtree. As a team we have been writing a complete lesson including ice-breaker, overview, media ideas, teaching, and discussion questions for each chapter of the New Testament. Youth Specialties now has Volume 1 listed in their online catalogue. We are hoping to be done with Volume 2 soon, but it is exciting to see this one listed. I am also very honored that my dad, Kevin Mahaffy, Sr. also contributed several lessons to the project. So cool to share this experience as father and son!