finding joy

Monday, December 7, 2009

this was a video that our church (Harvest Bible Chapel) put together to tell a small part of our story. We are so thankful that God has given us the opportunity to share with others what he has done in our lives. enjoy.


"Joy" Harvest Bible Chapel from Arcane Productions on Vimeo.

How things have changed...

Saturday, November 14, 2009







Wow Griffin is almost 10 months old!!! I can't believe that in two more short month Griffin will be a year old. There are times this whole process has seemed like 10 years, but then when I really think about it I have no idea how almost a whole year has passed. I am so thankful for the provision the Lord has blessed us with this last year. God has brought us through so many hard times, but has given us so many amazing times a long the way. I wanted to post some pictures of how far God has brought Griffin. There were times when we didn't know if Griffin was going to make it he was so tiny and fragile, but now if you look at him he looks so healthy and strong. We always say he is a "beast" because he is so big and eats so much. Still hard to watch him turn colors and see him get blue around his lips, but I guess that is what the doctors say is to be expected. I think for a mom no matter how much the doctors say it is normal it still doesn't seem right. I am learning each day to put Griffin back into God's hands and know that no matter how much I worry it won't change anything. He truly is God's not mine, yikes that one doesn't always come easy. Sometimes when I am caught up in the worrying I start to think to the future and think about his next surgery. He seems so "normal" right now, it is hard to think that we never know which cardiologist visit they are going to say his numbers are dropping and surgery is coming. Uhhh.... the thought of surgery is hard, but I know there is no point in dwelling on it now. As much as I don't want surgery to come it will be nice to think that hopefully this may be his last cold and flu season that is kind of scary. So here are a few pictures of how far Griffin has come. Thank you Jesus for truly taking care of my sweet baby Griffin...

Sorry for the font change midway through, can't figure out how to change it!!!

Griffin's doing fantastic...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009




Those were the words that his Cardiologist said about Griffin last week FANTASTIC!!! It was such an answer to prayer. I mean don't get me wrong Griffin still does need a third surgery, but right now he is doing amazing. I guess kids with defects can have "leaky hearts" because of the surgeries, but nothing like that is going on for Griffin. We have heard differing opinions on when Griffin will need his next surgery so we are just thinking it could be as close as 18 months old or as far away as 3 years old. The great thing is that we know that God is completely in control and whenever it is it will be perfect timing. We are so thankful for the blessing Griffin has been to our family, can't tell you how proud we are to be his parents.

Now we are just focusing in on baby things. I can't believe he is already 8 months old already!! Griffin now has two teeth and is sitting up now. He still falls over occasionally, but for the most part he is loving sitting up and playing with toys. He is eating all kinds of food, still taking a bit with real people food. He can have a tendency to choke so that is never fun. I don't know if it is from having the ventilator in or if that is just how God made him. Not going to lie the choking has given me a bit of a heart attack, so we are trying to take it slow. Griffin is always just so happy and I can't even begin to tell you how thankful we are for that, especially with all that he has been through. We are also taking Griffin to a chiropractor (Mark Meyers) to help him with a bit of tightness in his neck. So we are excited to see what he can do for him and so thankful for the way he has blessed us with his serves!!

Things have been pretty crazy around here with Eli starting up school, Griffin getting older and wanting to do more, Eden becoming quite the little girl, and John now being the High School director at our church. Even though it might be crazy we are loving it and loving where God has us. There have been some rough times and we know that there are some rough times to come, but we are holding on to the promises that God never fails, never leaves us, and is always with us and going ahead of us!!

Sorry it has been so long, thank you to all of you who have taken an interest in our family and all the prayers.
Love you all.

Amber

Help Support Eli for School

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hey everybody,

It's been a long time since I have posted anything on here. That doesn't mean nothing has been happening, because there has been tremendous amounts happening in the lives of the Hinger family. I will have to fill you in with everything later.

One of the things that is happening is that Eli is going to kindergarten this year. We are so thankful for his school, Clapham. They love their students and genuinely pray for them and seek what is best for the student. He was there last year for preschool and now back at Clapham for kindergarten.

Clapham School

This is where you come in, over the summer Eli was doing a reading plan to raise money for the school. He did a great job, reading around 900 minutes! If you would like to help support Eli in his reading and the school, I am looking for some people who would be willing to pledge a few cents per minute that he read this summer. How can you turn down this guy?




If you think you can help in anyway please let me know at thehingers@gmail.com. Thanks

links of the week

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i got this idea from a friend over at the harvest blog. he posts links to interesting articles that he has seen over the week and shares them with everyone.

here are some of the things that have impacted me over the past week:

this might sound sexist at first but i think it is a good challenge.

michael jackson and the book of ecclesiastes?

one way to be the most popular kid in school.

all men should read this....and this, no matter what line of work you are in.

finally please enjoy this video as it celebrates all things canadian. happy canada day!


what do you do for family night?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

something that really motivated me to be more deliberate.

Family Nights from Carlos Whittaker on Vimeo.

life at home

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i have realized that it is a lot harder to update the blog when you're not sitting around for hours a day in the hospital. now i have responsibilities that i have to take care of.

it is pretty exciting to see how griffin has progressed since we have brought him home. he has still been in pain and is not quite back to his normal self, however it hasn't even been a full week since the surgery. some moments you'd never know he had heart surgery and others it is quite evident he was in the hospital last week.

here are some pictures of life here at home




and a video that is about 30 seconds of griffin playing with a toy, with his foot.

video

a tribute

Sunday, June 21, 2009

i want to take a moment and give credit to my father and say thank you. on this father's day it is a joy to celebrate it together. me in my semi-new role as father and his from years of being a father.

as i think back to when i was three and sick in the hospital with a kidney disease. it was God who used that time to bring my father to himself and into a new relationship with Christ. since then he has not looked back. getting out of his business and feeling called to go to bible college we sold everything and moved to louisianna as an act of faith. from there the journey continued and ever since i have witnessed a desire and a sensitivity to the leading of the Lord.

i want to say thank you for being an example of what the spiritual head of the family looks like. i often remember seeing and hearing you, up early in the morning reading your bible and fervently praying for our family. i also remember the list of names written in pencil on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper that you would pray over daily. people in the church, people you knew, or anyone that just needed prayer. that is a testimony to your belief in the power of prayer as well as a discipline to do it.

growing up there was never a time when dad wasn't singing some song to Jesus or just walking around the house saying 'thank you Jesus.' i am also blown away at the open door my dad has always had. there were always people living with us and him and my mom continue to open their home for people to live with them.

all this to say, thank you dad for being and example to me and how to lead my family and reach out to others.

now i have to run because i have a little boy who is craving my attention.

almost there

Saturday, June 20, 2009

well griffin and i are waiting for the surgeon's nurse to come around and tell us we can go home. so we will wait patiently (not easy to do after 75 hours). this is us hanging out at some ungodly hour this morning.


the kids come to visit

Friday, June 19, 2009



we had the pleasure of having grandma and grandpa bringing Eli and Eden today. it was fun to have them here since i have not seen them since tuesday. how does the human heart have enough room to love so many people? i don't know how, but i just love each of my kids like crazy and they each have their own little personalities.



anyway griffin has been eating well today but still not sleeping much. he likes the formula we brought from home much more then the stuff they have here. not much more to say here are the pictures and i am going to take a quick nap.


something i was moved by here at the hospital

when we first came up to the PICU (pediatric ICU) after surgery we had to wait in the family waiting room. it is a small little room with a couple couches and some chairs. there was an orthodox jewish family that was in there as well. the first thing we saw was a man dressed like this standing against the wall praying.

immediately i was fascinated. fascinated by the tradition, the rich heritage that dates back thousands of years, the commitment to prayer, i couldn't stop watching . these are God's chosen people. the people he led out of egypt, the ones with whom he entrusted scriptures to and ultimately from which came Jesus the Messiah. paul talks in Romans 11 how we, as christians, are now grafted into this lineage by the work of Christ on the cross. he mentions that it is only the result of the jews rejecting Jesus that we have hope and the opportunity to be saved.

there was another young man who was in there and reading prayers from what they call a siddur. the siddur actually begins from deuteronomy 6:4-9 which starts by saying "hear o israel the Lord our God the Lord is one. love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and might." i was convicted by there constancy in prayer and dedication to reading the scriptures, even in public, not caring what others thought or said.

that was my first observation; that they were passionate about praying and reading the siddur. the second was the unbelievable sense of community and family and grieving with others. other then the mother and father there have been at least a dozen if not more friends and family that have been here around the clock. friends of the family that have been sleeping on love seat couches curled up in a ball, people bringing boxes of food non-stop. most of them can't even go in to see the child so they hang out and wait. they are warm and friendly and have offered us some food of their entire table full of bagels and coffee and other items that someone brought in for them. (update: as i have been writing this over the past couple days i have come to find out that the little boy will not be surviving and now they are just waiting, and supporting the parents however they can. it breaks my heart for them and brings me to tears. as much as it is hard to see griffin go through this, i know he will come home with us soon and we will go back into normal routine. for that family life is now no longer the same).

one last observation; i was also saddened to know that although they are so regimented at what they do, they don't realize that salvation is not through works or checking things off your holy to do list. the bible is abundantly clear that in order to be saved you must confess with you mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead Romans 10:9. they have such a deep understanding of God and his ways, but they do not believe that Jesus is Lord and that he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins. that is the pathway to heaven. nothing else. Jesus said it himself "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6. it is by His grace that we are saved, we cannot earn it.

if you have made it this far in reading i am impressed. i went on some rambling tangents and preached a little at the end, but i haven't been able to stop thinking about this family and wanted to share some of the things that i have observed. no joke, as i just wrote the previous sentence another friend of theirs walked through the door carrying a bag of items.

love you guys

john

chest tube out

well today they came by and took out his chest tube. which is a big deal because it will be much easier to hold him and comfort him if he gets upset. griffin has been the talk of the doctors and nurses with his excessive smiling and kicking. i am so thankful that he is a happy baby, it makes things a lot easier.

they also said that he will probably be able to go home tomorrow as long as he eats well today. so please pray that he eats well and does everything he needs so that he can come home where we will be able take care of him better.

below you'll see the picture of one our surgeons about to take out his chest tube. nobody knows how to really pronounce his name, even the nurses, so we call him dr chowy. he is incredibly nice and answers any questions you might have.

sleep, who needs it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009



well this afternoon griffin was finally free from his sedation meds. he was acting and responding like he normally does, charming all the nurses. amber was able to get him to smile and hold him which made us so happy, because it felt like normal. now we just want to take him home so we can take care of him, and hold him, and put him to bed in his crib. he has been awake most of the day which has caused him to be terribly irritable at times. trying to get him to sleep is really hard, he starts crying and clawing at everything within reach. he also gets very agitated which doesn't help either.

My parents came to visit but were unable to stay long because he ended up kicking the iv out of his foot and blood was all over and he wasn't happy. they will back in the morning to hopefully have some better time with us and him. this evening we had our great friends dan and grace stop by as well. they brought some much needed 'outside food.' you can only eat in the hospital cafeteria so many times.

finally griffin is asleep, so i guess i should rest while he is resting.





comments on our blog

hey everyone i guess people haven't been able to post comments on our blog. and i was not aware of that until just now. i think i have fixed it so go ahead and comment away.

all you have to do is click on 'comments' below the post and it will say 'post a comment' click that and then write to your hearts content.

thanks.

a few pictures from this morning

griffin was able to eat for the first time in 2 days! hooray! he downed 2 ounces in no time. the nurse said he did great because sometimes they have to really work with kids to eat again. griffin did not struggle with that. one thing i am looking forward to is to see him smile. i am still waiting for him to smile. he is normally a really happy baby and we can get him to smile almost all the time. however, since the surgery i haven't seen one smile. i will be sure to capture it on video or a picture when it happens.



quick update

griffin is doing well this morning. he had a pretty quiet night. amber was able to go home and get some rest and i stuck around to be available in case anything happened. i was by his bed until 12AM and then the nursed convinced me i'd get better rest in the sleeping room down the hall. she was right. the surgeon came back and looked at griffin this morning and said he is looking great. the chest tube will stay in for another day but they will start weening him off the pain meds and the sedation meds and then start feeding him. we are just waiting to get word on how much fluids he is allowed to have before we start giving him some sugar water.

today my parents will be able to come and see griffin as well as maybe eli and eden, depending on how he is doing. that's all for now. just wanted to let you know what was happening.

psalm 118:13-14 says 'I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.'

before and after

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

this is the difference in griffin from before the surgery to after. sad.
video


video

recovery

there has been a rush of emotions this afternoon. relief that it is over, sorrow watching him whimper in pain, anxiety knowing he is not completely out of the woods yet. griffin has had a tough time in recovery today. the surgery went so smoothly and it was done so fast. however he has had a tough time coming off of the anesthetics and adjusting to the pain medications. he will periodically wake up and cry because he is in pain. so we help move him around to a new position which is all we can do because we can't hold or feed him right now. the doctor said that he will have extremely bad headaches over the next 24 to 48 hours since all the blood vessels in his head have to readjust to flowing into an artery now. older kids who have been through this procedure have said that it feels like you have just been hit by a train. so griffin is trying to deal with what feels like being hit by a train.

the doctors and nurses here at Lutheran have been absolutely amazing at caring for us and for griffin and taking care of any need we may have. we are so thankful that God led us here. you can see some of our nurses below natalie and sylvia.

it has been a long day. please pray that griffin gets some sleep tonight so that i can get some sleep.

we are so thankful for all of you who were praying today for us and especially for griffin. we know that God moved through those prayers to get griffin to where he is now. thank you so much.




some pre-op pictures

we had the opportunity to hold him and have some moments before they took him away. he did great. keep praying over the next hours for him, thank you. love all of you.





it's here

i can't believe that it is finally here. it feels like we just left the hospital last week from when he was only two weeks old. it is such a weird feeling going back to the hospital to have him cut open again. there are a few positives, however, that we found out on monday, as we met with the surgeon's nurse. the big one is that even though he'll be on the heart lung machine they don't have to completely stop his heart. this is a plus because that can have any number of side effects or complications. the other positive was that we were told that the recovery was going to be shorter then what we were originally told. now it's hard ot get our hopes up that this will be the case, but they said he could be out of the hospital in 3-4 days. we were expecting anywhere between 5 days to 2 weeks.

it has been such blessing to us to have so many people supporting us and praying for griffin during this time. i am also so thankful for my parents who flew out from canada to help watch eli and eden. i can't say how much it means to me and i am blessed to have parents that are willing to drop everything and come. thanks mom and dad. And for amber's mom who has helped us so much to get ready for all of this. we are amazed at how much are parents love us. i guess once you become a parent you are always a parent!!!

now we will wait to watch how God works in and through this surgery and griffin's recovery. we are so thank that we get to live in the hope and love of our Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ. we often wonder how people without Christ would make it through a time like this. so much stress and pressure on them to think they are the only ones taking care of their child. we know that God has intrusted us with our children on this earth, but they are truely our Heavenly Father's. i don't know how you survive without that kind of hope. we will do our best to be vigilent parents, but we know that God is ultimately in control. Thank the Lord for that!!!

thank you all so much. we love you all.

rough day aka 'what is good vs what is best'

Monday, June 15, 2009

this shot of griffin getting his chest x ray is when things were at there best. afterwards, is when he had to get his blood drawn. that is when things went down hill. they stuck the needle in the first time and he actually did pretty well but they couldn't find the vein and they began moving the needle around in his arm but couldn't get it. so they removed the first needle and then moved over to the other arm. this is when griffin thought 'hey what a minute i don't like this at all' (we were actually thinking the same thing). the screaming began and didn't stop for a while because they had four viles to fill and on the fourth the blood stopped flowing. they checked to see if it would be enough, it wasn't. so they came back and did a finger prick and filled a vile from his finger, drop by drop filling it up. needless to say griffin wasn't too thrilled this entire time. and meanwhile he left the biggest sweat stain on the flimsy paper they have on the doctors tables. hard to watch.

leaving today i said to amber that this was the closest analogy to how God deals with us i could think of. i think of it as 'What is Good vs What is Best.' as a parent i find it very hard to pin griffin down to a table and have him scream in my face with tears running down his cheeks. the worst part of it is that he doesn't understand at all why this is happening. only amber and i can see the bigger picture that he needs to endure this pain so that ultimately he can live. to griffin, what would be 'good' would be that he didn't have to get stuck with a needle three different times today, however i know it's not what's 'best'. good vs best. sure we could have opted out of taking him today and said we don't want him to have surgery because of the pain and it just wouldn't be 'good' for him. however it would not be what is 'best' for him. what is best, is that he has surgery and it provides him with the opportunity to develop and grow up to be a boy who runs around and plays instead of the other option. I feel like griffin a lot. screaming in the face of God with tears streaming down and i cannot understand why. it is because i don't see the big picture. that is why i am so thankful to trust in a sovereign God, who is in control, has a purpose and knows the big picture and what is not just good for me but what is best. thank you Lord.

griffin's surgery update

Saturday, June 13, 2009

i have decided to give a detailed description of griffin's upcoming surgery. which, by the way, i cannot believe is already next wednesday (that's June 17 for those of you keeping record at home). it seems as though it has snuck up on us. there are a lot of emotions and feelings that are rising as we look ahead to what the next few weeks will hold.

so here we go, in the plainest english possible. this surgery, first of all, is called a glenn shunt and is the second of three surgeries that griffin needs in order to have proper blood oxygenation. the doctors have said he will never have a 'normal' heart, but rather an adapted heart that will allow him to function as close to any other normal child would. let me take you back, here is a diagram of what a normal heart looks like and then the heart defect that griffin has which is a single ventricle with pulmonary atresia.



















where you see the vessel connecting the aorta and the pulmonary artery is the tube (BT Shunt) they put in when he was a week old. for this next surgery they will clamp that off and then take the superior vena cava from the right atrium and connect it directly to the pulmonary artery. you can see it in this next picture even though the heart defect in the picture is slightly different from what griffin has.




i am guessing this more confusing then helpful, so don't worry about it to much. this is mostly for the curious ones out there that want to know exactly what is going to be happening. more importantly here is what i need you to pray for. he will go in early wednesday morning where they will prep him and sedate him and then cut open his chest. after they have done that they will put him on a heart lung bypass machine. this essentially stops his heart and lung function and runs his blood through a machine. the biggest scare in this surgery is that your natural pacemaker or the nerve endings which spur your heart to pump on it's own are in the right atrium. so pray that nothing gets damaged in this process because the last thing we need is his heart to not pump properly after this surgery. it is going to be much more intense then the first surgery and he is also much more aware then when he was a week old which makes it harder when he is coming out of surgery. pray that the surgeons would do everything properly and there would be no complications and also that he recovers well. he is probably going to be in some significant pain and not sure what jsut happened to him. pray that the presence of God surrounds him when we can't hold him ourselves.

we covet your prayers over the next few weeks. we recognize that he is God's child and we are stewards of him taking care of him and raising him in the best way possible. it is comforting knowing that God has him in his arms and we can trust that He is the one who is in complete control and that He works all things out for good.

if you have questions feel free to write them in the comments and i'll get back to them as soon as i can. we will keep everyone updated throughout the whole process.

thanks

John and Amber


prayer request

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

so here is the situation, we are beginning to outgrow our ford explorer. with three car seats in a row in the back it is time to get a larger vehicle. here's the catch, we actually need two vehicles; one so that amber can drive eli to and from school, run errands, and quite frankly just be able to get out of the house and the second for me so that i can go to work.


here is where we need you to pray with/for us. we need to sell the explorer for how much we owe on it and then find two vehicles that are cheap and get financed for them. this is where it gets sticky (you may have seen this on facebook recently as well) i applied for two auto loans from the credit union and got rejected. so i am trying to get all this figured out before griffin's surgery but having trouble seeing how that is going to happen.

thanks for praying

ps. if you have a spare car laying around that you feel you'd like to give us we just might accept. ha ha (i'm kidding.....but if you do, we're open to the idea....just sayin)

words from our blog

Monday, June 1, 2009




i saw this website called wordle.net and they compile words from anything. this is a compilation of all the words from our updates on griffin over the past four months. it is aesthetically pleasing to my eyes.

surgery update

Saturday, May 30, 2009

we had originally told everyone that griffin's surgery was scheduled for June 10th, which in part was true because that's what we were told. However, when we spoke with the surgeon's nurse yesterday we found out that the surgeon doesn't do surgeries at Lutheran General on the 10th only the 3rd or the 17th.

so here is the situation we are presented with, there is a girl who is scheduled for surgery on the 3rd however she is sick and possibly won't have it done. if she doesn't, then we can be scheduled for the 3rd but we won't know for sure until monday. if it doesn't work out to do it next wednesday then we will be slotted for the 17th which is two and half weeks away. the tough part is that my parents planned their trip from canada around the original scheduled date so they're going to have to change their flight in order to be around to help.


either way we need your prayers as we go into this next couple of weeks. the cardiac catheterization from thursday showed that everything was developed and as it needed to be in order to proceed with surgery, which we are very thankful for. the outlook is good from the doctors as far as griffin being ready and also his ability to recover quickly. yesterday you would have never known he had been in the hospital the whole day before.

this is getting be a lengthy post so i'll wrap it up. there is ONE LAST THING we need prayer for, it turns out girffin has an ingrown toenail that is infected. we had to take him in yesterday and the pediatrician gave him some antibiotics so that it would clear up before surgery. if it's not one thing it's another.

we are so thankful to trust in a God who is in control and has griffin in his hands especially when we can't hold him. i think we could write a book from all the things God has taught us through this.

we'll keep you posted on what's happening.

the hingers

Our ideal dog

Friday, May 29, 2009

We ran into this guy on our walk tonight. He escaped from his owner who we ran into a few minutes later.

If we could have a dog, it would one of these or a bulldog.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Griffin today

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

trusting God in all things

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


well it's been a bit of an emotional week here in our house. it is largely due to griffin's upcoming surgery. the surgery isn't until june 10th, however we have had to get a bunch of things done beforehand. things like labs and his cardiac catheter. on tuesday we took him in for his labs and had to pin him to the table as they stuck him with the needle to draw a couple viles of blood. i'm not sure what was harder, having to watch him in pain or being the one holding him there and putting him through it. nevertheless his pleading eyes were difficult to watch as he turned multiple shades of purple all while crying to make it stop.

right now amber is feeding him the last food he will get until after the cardiac catheter. if you're wondering what the cardiac catheter is, you can read more about it here. we'll be leaving at six in the morning to drive him up to Lutheran General where they will give him an IV and put him under to do the procedure. it takes about 2-3 hours for the procedure and then a while after that for griffin to come off the drugs. the biggest things they are looking for tomorrow is that his pulmonary arteries are big enought to perform the next surgery and also that the pressures in his heart are low enough to proceed. they can also make the call and decide if surgery needs to be done immediately or if it can wait until the scheduled june 10th date.

as you think of us please pray for griffin to be ok as he has to undergo pain as well as for amber and i to remain strong and to rest in the peace and comfort that only God provides Phil 4:7. also pray that all things will be well in order to proceed as planned for the surgery in two weeks.

i think the toughest part is that this is just the beginning, the road continues on in the upcoming weeks. thank you for all your prayers and encouragement and support. God has been more faithful and evident at this time in our life then ever before.

the hingers

 
hinger happenings