Kiwi Branch of a School Year

Our school year didn’t go as planned. It never does, but this year more than most.

I look longingly at my “Kinder Rhythm and Verse” post from last July – visualizing the plans that never materialized. Oh, we may have followed the rhythm a few days, weeks, or months, but life got in the way.

Some years grow like plum branches straight and fruitful, but this year looked more like a kiwi branch: four surgeries, one birth and one death


The year started with Grandpa, who lives with us, having open heart surgery.

1235485_1172177552815322_6665565665587265866_nLater in the fall, we learned Rose had lost all of hearing in her right ear as it had filled with liquid and pushed her eardrum back so it was touching her cranium. The ENT also suggested having a cranial specialist look into repairing her nose, as scar tissue from her cleft palate surgery had built up and completely blocked her nasal breathing. Thus Rose’s New Year began with ear surgery by the ENT, followed shortly after by a plastic surgeon repairing her nose and cleft palate. Both Rose’s hearing and breathing have been restored – praise God.

The month between the two surgeries, I got sick, and more and more of my energy was draining out of me. I held off going to the doctor until a week after Rose’s surgery. Two doctors, a nurse practitioner, an emergency room visit, three sets of blood work, and two ultrasounds later – everything but cancer had been ruled out. I underwent surgery and a biopsy three weeks after Rose’s plastic surgery.


Before getting the results back, my daughter-in-law gave birth to twins. We’d been joyously anticipating their births. Rose had helped me search out cashmere sweaters, felt them,  cut them and design them into patterns. I taught her to hand sew – and she sat beside me making little hearts as I hand sewed the quilts. We talked about the babies and how they would play some day together. Every night Rose prayed and thanked God for them. Our baby boy was born healthy, but our baby girl had died shortly before birth. It was such a bitter-sweet moment in time.

Between the birth and the funeral I found out the results of my biopsy. It was benign! It was truly a miracle! The doctor said that after doing the surgery she was positive I had cancer. She had practiced medicine for over 20 years and never done a surgery like mine that wasn’t cancer. When she got the lab results back, she even recalled the lab to confirm the results – because she was so surprised. It can only be considered a miracle. So, it was determined that my health problems were the result of a complete imbalance of hormones. I started hormone treatment – and have been regaining energy little by little.


Needless to say – Kindergarten wasn’t quite like I had planned.

Isaiah 55: 8 – 9 says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I had plans for Rose’s Kindergarten year – but God had other plans.

Instead of learning to read and write – Rose learned:

That God is sovereign. He is in control of our days, and not we ourselves. God is the giver and taker of life.

With the death of Baby Girl, we talked about the fact that one day in the presence of God is better than a life lived on earth.

God is the Healer. He heals miraculously, and He heals through doctors. He chooses who and how He heals.

Loving and caring for others is more important than personal growth.  Reading and writing are not the most important things in life. People are.

A few years ago there was a survey done in which Christian Parents were asked what they want most for their kids – 80% said a good education, whereas less than half as many said a relationship with God. I’m glad God reminded me once again – through circumstances out of my control – what was really important to teach my daughter:

“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 28 – 31)


The Kiwi branch is beautiful – because God made it that way.  Our school year as well was beautiful because it was designed by God to teach us what He wanted us to learn.



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