Sunday, July 29, 2012

Living In The Storm: Day 10 Update...

i am so sorry that it has been such a long time since we've updated.

life has felt more like a roller coaster than a sunday drive for several months now. one of our primary goals in placing mom was to find the perfect balance of not over medicating mom, but also stabilizing her mood and emotions. any time you are using drug therapy with someone you have to realize it is NOT a fast process. towards the end of the week our visits with mom were beginning to feel more like sunday drives and less and less like a roller coaster. however, the tricky thing with medicine is sustaining that perfect balance.


if you know anything about my parents you know that wherever they go they find someone they know, or someone who knows someone they know. it's just how they roll. we are on a first name basis with many of staff and many of the other patients. word has gotten out that dad is a pastor, so he is quickly sought out for deep theological discussions by many of them. :)

we continue to be so grateful for the amazing care mom is receiving. she even told dad last night, "everyone here is SO NICE!"

i believe over all that everyone has caught some great nights of sleep this week, we felt your prayers!

prayer requests:

pray that the best drug cocktail (not sure that's the medical term :) can be found for mom, and that it will sustain the sweet sunday drives.
pray specifically that when we leave the hospital *twice a day* mom will remain at peace.
pray for travel safety as we are up and down the road quite a bit these days.

everyone has been so sweet to ask "what can we do" to help. i so can relate to wishing i could DO something to help those who in are in tough situation. here are 4 practical ways we have come up with. please, please, do not feel like these are "must do's" rather just little ways to lighten the load.

1. continue to pray. this is the MOST important.
2. gas cards for dad. any amount, any gas station, any time!
3. if you would like to ride along with one of us to visit mom please email me at, please realize that we will probably not be able to utilize all the volunteers, but would love the company for the long trips. also, if this is something you would like to do please realize the reality of the situation you are walking into. it can be very sad, very overwhelming, and very heavy. so, if that's not something your spirit is up for we TOTALLY get it.
4. if you are more of a child care person, we would love the extra hands to watch over our little angels while we try and get up to see mom as much as possible.

again, we are humbled over your outpouring of love and are deeply blessed by the community we find in YOU!

for all of us,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

one year

one year ago yesterday our exhausted, overwhelmed, sick, hot, and "very excited to be HOME" moving caravan pulled into KC. two 26ft penskes, 1 dead mini van, 1 living mini van, 1 Poppo, 1 Uncle Andrew, 1 Mama, 1 Daddy, 4 children, and more stuff than any family of six should have. it was a journey for the record books.

yesterday you would not believe what we were doing? oh, yes... MOVING! i will never move in july or august again, or we will no longer have family or friends who will speak to us. i so do not enjoy that feeling of living in chaos. however, right now my reality is a lot of internal and external chaos.

today i was reading through my very last post from KG and it had some nuggets of truth that i needed to hear,

"now we set our sights on kansas in a real and non- "in your dreams" kind of way. we have a commitment to fulfill. one that says, " i will honor my mother, love my mother, and respect my mother, as long as i can, with as much as i can". she gave me life, she laid her life down for me for 20 years, day and night. i owe her. we are not super heroes swooping down to save the day. we are walking by faith to lighten the load of many hands. we don't HAVE to... we WANT to.... we are excited and desire to do this. on thursday, one week from yesterday, we will load our 7, 5, 4, and 2 year old up and move to a more familiar place. we don't know what life will look like while we are there. there will be moments that are unclear and difficult. what we think is that mom needs us, but what is really true is that we desperately need her.  as always, God has amazing things for us there, God has things that He needs to work on IN us while we are there, God has people who will make our life richer there waiting for us, God has moments that will change our lives forever while we are there. He is good, ALWAYS good. in the hard, in the easy, in the unknown, in the known, in the glorious, in the mundane, in the old and in the new. He has plans for us, for all of us. He is to be high and lifted up. He is to be worshiped, adored, and obeyed. He is holy. He is continually working on our behalf to mold and make us into HIS IMAGE. The longer we fight, refuse, and resist His love, the longer we lack peace and true rest.  We will miss Him if we don't know Him.  And He is ALL that is worth knowing."

happy moving wherever you are,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Living In The Storm: Sunday Afternoon Update

i'm back :)

thank you so much for wonderfully accepting my substitute writer ( i could not put a sentence together on friday). don't be dismayed, i am sure he will return at some point. it's fantastic that we can tag team this project.

just small update on mama-mama.  overall, we have seen much improvement when it comes to being able to offer mom peace and rest.  while, we still have a long way to go, we are fully confident in the amazing staff that is gently and delicately taking care of our little mama-mama. we have all been able to see her and visit her, and we have indirectly brought some "hall humor" to the hospital wing. surprising, i know ;)

i would ask that you, first and foremost, pray that we will ALL sleep when sleep comes to us, most importantly for mama and daddy.

second, i would ask you pray that the doctors and nurses would have a clear picture of the exact ways they can help maintain peace and rest.

third, i would ask that you would pray that our hearts would be protected from guilt, fear, and the carrying the burden of the unknown. that our imaginations would not run wild in the middle of night plaguing us with the "what ifs" and "if onlys". 

if you were a fly on the wall you would see the numerous tears that have been shed because our hearts are so blessed by YOU!! the morning texts, the middle of the night emails, the meals, the phone calls, the open ears and silent lips that let us spew our grief, and your electronic/ in person hugs have carried us!

thank you.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Living In The Storm: Update from Zach

Good Morning!

This is a quick update from the Hall Family regarding some recent events concerning Mom.
She has been admitted in a local in-patient care facility for the time being for medication stabilization.
Recently, things have been difficult with the current stage of the disease, and we as a family made this
decision to help everyone involved.

Currently, we are not accepting visitors for Mom.  

We ask for the next 7-10 days that you pray specifically for rest.   Pray that Mom's spirit would be eased by the presence of the Lord, and that Dad and kids can sleep and rest in the knowledge and comfort of Jesus.  We absolutely know how great our God is, and we trust in Him, and the doctors and staff caring for Mom.

We greatly appreciate all of the support and love that is shown for our parents and family, and we want to keep you as informed as possible.   We thank you in advance for your sweet care and love and concern.    

I, Zach, will continue to keep updating the situation via email, and if there are any direct questions or needs, feel free to contact me directly at, or by cell phone at 978.968.3090

Again, thank you so much for your love and care that you all have shown to our Family.   We are eternally grateful.


Zach ( for the Hall Family)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Living in the Storm: In Him We Live

*can't sleep*

"In Him we live, and move, and have our being" Acts 17:28

while sharing mom's story with someone today i reflected on how it is that we "go on" as things continue to digress at such an expedient rate.

the answer?


on the days when it all seems to heavy and unbearable we love on, we live on..


when breathing in and out seems like way too much, we move on...


when excruciating decisions must be made, our entire being is found..


it is by Him, through Him, because of Him, we get out of bed and rage against a disease we would not wish on our worst enemy.

if you do not know Him. if you think are satisfied without Him. if you think you do not need Him. if you think that the storms that life throws your way can be fought any other way than through His power; i beg of you
to reconsider.

He is everything, everything to me.

lucy was yelling at the top of her lungs tonight, "i love Jesus, i love Jesus, i love Him so!!!"

a lump welled in my throat and my soul screamed, " i love Jesus, i love Jesus, i love Him so!!!'

if you want to know "how" we are making... we are making it...


that's it. that's the end of the story. that's the final chapter.

living, moving and being WITH Him is the living water that floods this thirsty heart.

please, please, don't go on without Him.

find Him.
trust Him.
belong to Him.
let Him heal the deep scarred, uncharted parts of your heart.
relinquish all of yourself to Him.
let your thirst be quenched by Him.
let your longing be filled by Him.
let your questions be answered by Him.
let Him bring you peace; real, restful peace.
let Him offer you joy-unending.
let Him redeem you.
let Him secure you.
let Him hold you.

in Him, live and move and have your being!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Living In The Storm: I am still singing...

*i know i seem to be posting a lot in this series lately... but so much is happening right now in this area and i want to write about it so i won't forget.*

i have been super emotional today. not a bad, out of control, emotional, but rather a thoughtful, still, and reflective emotional.

obviously, we are living the moving dream as we pack our boxes, and today i did something that i have been meaning to do for years... i went through high school graduation cards, bridal shower cards, and wedding cards. hundreds upon hundreds have been following me around for the last 12 years.

it was such a sweet road of remembrance for me. if i am being honest with you i would tell you that about 90% of the cards got dumped, but the other 10% made the cut, and i can't imagine having a sweeter gift than those cards.

i would go from laughter to bawling in a matter of flipping the cover of the card. so many sweet and personal messages were recorded and overwhelmingly blessed my heart today.

something hurt my heart though, SO many of the names i ran my thumb over are no longer in this place. easily 30 people. it astonished me, that in such a seemingly short time many have gone on. oh, it made me want to cling to every minute i've been given (even though i am pretty sure i threatened each of my children at least once today that i was throwing them in a moving box and leaving them there b/c their attitudes we so rotten) ahem.

oh course, it was inevitable that i would come across a card with my Mama's words printed inside. instant tears stung my eyes, and for a split second i debated if i could even move forward and read what she wrote. i did, and here is what she said,


We aint' got a barrel of money- maybe we're ragged 'n funny...but we'll travel along, singing a song, side by side.

May you have a life time of singing and whatever else you do with this gift!

Love, (drawn in smiley face here with curly short hair and a big smile),

that "gift" she is referring to is the piece of lingerie she gave me for my wedding night. i doubled over in laughter.

oh, mama... i am trying to sing. with everything thing that is left in my soul, i am trying to sing so loud that you can hear my broken tune in your darkest moments. it's hard. it's so unbelievably hard to sing with the ache that seems so ever present.

but for you...

i will sing.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

do you wear your seat belt?

for most of us i would think it's a no brainer that we should wear our seat belts and require those in our vehicle to wear them, especially our children!  and if we choose to not wear our seat belts most people know the great risk they have put themselves at. we have seen the statistics proving the importance of taking such a simple step of protection. we have heard how seat belts have saved lives time and time again, and we have groaned in agony when a life was lost and could have been prevented only if a seat belt had been worn.

over the last ten years, (and especially in the last 8 months) i have learned that healthy food is like a seat belt.  the statistics are pouring in all over the place that healthy eating can not only prevent terminal illnesses but REVERSE terminal illnesses. for so long i thought that the diagnosis of cancer, alzheimer's, MS, diabetes, and others, were totally random. however, the more i research the more i realize that these diseases require certain environments to grow in, and we either extend an invitation to these diseases or we fight these diseases by the food we put into our bodies. i understand that we live in a fallen world, therefore someone who eats ideally can still contract a terminal disease. but why not at least attempt to educate ourselves and use the brains God has given us to determine helpful and harmful paths along the way? ignorance plays a HUGE role in automobile fatalities. ignorance also plays a HUGE role in medically related fatalities.

while, good food choices are helping us fight off terminal illnesses, they are also helping us as a family eliminate every day illnesses; head aches, allergies, fatigue, colds, body aches, dehydration, stomach aches, flu, and all sorts of other aliments. we have not been to see a doctor in a year for illness. katie only contracted ONE cold during her first year in school. please do not misinterpret my enthusiasm as bragging, but man oh man, when something beneficial and life changing enters your world... you just want to share. more than ever, i believe the combination of life giving food and abundant rest has offered our family the strongest immune systems we've ever had.

i strongly believe that God has all of our days numbered and that He is so WONDERFULLY sovereign.  i do not, nor will not, obsess about food or exercise. mark and i speak very openly about not letting these two things become gods to us. HOWEVER, i also strongly believe that it is required of me to actively participate in taking care of holy temple in which God dwells.... MY BODY!

some might ask, since we are uncertain of our time here on earth why not eat and drink whatever we want? what ever tastes the best, fills me up the most, is the cheapest on my budget. my response? you do that and tell me how it feels.... really feels! how much life gets lived when we only put dying things in our bodies? for me, i am going to consume things that in return allow me to REALLY live well and wide, and deep, and for how ever long it pleases my God, i will live...strong!!!

some of you are certain i have become a food Nazi, and that's just not true. we are trying so hard to be diligent, but with balance. for heavens sake we just spent two weeks in the deep south. we had our fair share fried and sweetened things... trust me. but on the whole we are striving to provide ourselves and our children with a healthier relationship to food... consequently a healthier and fuller life.

for real, wear your seat belt! don't be an idiot.
and maybe today, make a small food change that will help seat belt in your health for a change.

click it or ticket!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

watch and learn..

with katie all i have to do is say, "tell me what's wrong?" and from the wee age of 3 she has easily been able to articulate her needs, frustrations, and worries. very helpful.

julia on the other hand does not divulge her feelings easily AT ALL. she has this super mysterious, "figure me out" element about her that honestly, I LOVE! i must take the time to watch and learn, and then piece by piece i will be able to figure out what's up.

today was totally holiday hangover day in the littlejohn house. not the alcoholic kind (pretty sure that would have been easier to handle) but the whiny, over needy, cranky kind. and that just defines MY mood ;)
for the past two weeks the kids have been entertained, catered too abundantly, and thoroughly spoiled. all of that is totally fabulous until it's just the four of them staring at me asking me a million times what we are doing today, and that's BEFORE i get out of bed. long day indeed. but my sister rescued me and had us over for dinner and FUN! then we came home and swam for an hour and now the house is silent.. AHHHH, summer bliss.

all this to say, julia woke me up THREE times in the middle of the night last night. the complaint? i am scared. as you well know by now, this is a valid concern in our house. i walked her back up to her room THREE times, prayed, cuddled and kissed all the while in a sleep coma. today, she literally hung on me begging me to touch and hold her. this was a little bit hard as i was on the phone with 8 different companies connecting and disconnecting utilities. it wasn't until tonight as i was tucking her in that it hit me what was going on with her..... WE ARE MOVING. julia is by far my biggest homebody. from the time she was an infant her whole demeanor changed when we left home. vacations were brutal because she would beg for home. thankfully, she has outgrown that little attribute, but over the last few days her actions have told me that her heart is unsettled because the house is getting emptier and emptier. more and more of her security is visually diminishing into brown bekins boxes.

as always, this was such a good reminder for me to look deeper than the complaint, the never-ending whineiness (sp?), the neediness, the bad attitude, and get to the heart of the issue. sometimes, it's just plain old nastiness that needs to be addressed, but sometimes there is an underlining  raw and real emotion controlling the behavior. sometimes we as parents are paralyzed by the fear of the unknown underlining emotion, so we choose to excuse our child's behavior based solely on what something "could" be. however, sometimes we swing to the other side and do not even consider what our child is walking through, but demand constant obedience and compliance all in the name of the law, regardless of real and raw emotions.

my prayer for myself and for all parents, is that we will neither be paralyzed nor legalistic in our dealings with our precious children, but we will meet them where they are. problem solve with and for them, and to take the time to delicately put them together like puzzle pieces in the grand design of one awesome masterpiece of a complete human being.

happy piecing,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Living In The Storm: A Transition

hi sweet friends,

we are back from our southern VA-CA! we had some much needed R&R. more on that later.

right now, a small update on Mama-Mama.

we are walking through a transition right now on trying to piece together the most loving, most peaceful, most life-giving care plan for Mama. her brain is not resting and her heart is in torment. we are desperate to offer her relief. during this transition we ask for specific prayers that we can find the perfect balance between environmental intervention and medical intervention. please pray for wisdom, rest, patience, clear and helpful answers to allow Mama's soul to land softly.

thank you for visiting Mama and Daddy at the house. i KNOW those hours are such a sweet reprieve, especially for dad. the music, the prayer time, the laughter, the hugs, and the delicious meals do not go unnoticed. ideally, we would write each of you a hand written thank you note... *audible laughter* but things aren't "ideal". note or no note.... we are eternally grateful!

over our vacation i had a few hours to reflect over the last year. one overwhelming promise pierced my heart time and time again; i am abundantly blessed! blessed that i have hope. hope that i am merely passing through this world. this is NOT my home. this is not how the story ends for my mom, for me, for those who call on Jesus. these heart aches, these days filled with oppressive darkness and pain will vanish in the presence of my Majestic Redeemer.  when i behold Him face to face, when He wipes away the tears produced from the journey had, I will rest easy in the arms of I AM!

this is from psalm 84:11 &12
"For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!"