Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mixed Feelings on the Homefront

Hi Family and Friends!

We have had a few interesting weeks here in the Suel household, which would account for our lack of updating lately. First and foremost, there has been a tragic death in the Suel family and we have just returned from the emergency trip to the US. Jason’s cousin Rachel, only 19 years old, passed away on July 26, 2008. She had juvenile diabetes, and through complications of the diabetes and then upon coming down with pneumonia, she died in the hospital in Little Rock. It was very sudden, as the doctors told the family she would be okay at 8pm on Saturday night, but by 11pm, she was gone. We are all, of course, shocked and still a little numb from it all. The funeral was beautifully done, and the family have had lots of support from friends, but we will always mourn Rachel’s too early death. For those of you who have sent us condolences, we appreciate your kindness. Please continue to pray for us as we grieve, and especially for Uncle Mark, Aunt Sheila, and Wesley (Rachel’s little brother).

The silver lining of our unplanned trip home to the States was that all our families and some friends got to meet little Pippi for the first time. She was able to sit in the laps of all her grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, etc. It was a wonderful time for us. Pippi was a star traveler on both of the 26-hour and 3-flight trips home. She adjusted pretty well to all the strangers wanting to hold her, too, once we arrived! She needed to know that mom and dad were close by, but all in all she was okay with all the new changes in her little world. She learned to sit up in the 2 weeks spent in Arkansas, which was exciting for us all to watch! It was nice for our families to be a part of one of her major milestones, as they are missing so many of the others.

One really great thing going on with Pippi is that we may have finally cracked the case on her eczema!! Praise the Lord! We have seen a dermatologist, as well as her regular doctors, and the current medications (2 moisturizers, 1 anti-itch cream, and 2 special medications for the bath water) seem to be working! She is still scratching (she’s got some scabs on her ears right now!!), but not nearly as much. And guess what??? She has slept TWO nights ALL THE WAY THROUGH in the past 3 weeks!! PRAISE THE LORD!! We are really feeling good about it. She is altogether sleeping better now, too; we only get up a few times now as opposed to 15-20 times per night. And this is down to her not being so itchy. We were pleased to hear the dermatologist say that since she is responding to this medication, it’s a good sign that she may grow out of the eczema. Yay! It’s so nice, too, because she is soooo much happier now! We never knew the real personality of little Pippi, because she has always been sort of frustrated due to how bad she was feeling, but now that she feels well, her true colors shine through!! Thanks for all your prayers, and please keep them up as we watch day by day how God is healing her.

Once back from the States, we dove right back into work and day-to-day life. Jason is at this moment camping at a Christian festival about 45 minutes from Hereford. It’s in a place called Gorsley, and our church and theirs work together a lot. It’s a 5-day festival and Jason is helping to lead worship and make videos for the Youth tent. It’s been going well. I’ve been down with Pippi a couple of times, and I’ll be back tomorrow. It’s a “bank holiday” in the UK tomorrow, on Monday, so everyone has a day off. Our last public holiday till Christmas.

The weather here is dreadful. After 100+ degrees in Arkansas, we were pretty sad to come home to rain and cold. Yesterday at the festival I was wearing jeans, 2 shirts, and a jacket and I was still shivering as it rained on me. And it’s August!!

Pippi has settled in at Heather’s house, her childminder. She seems to really like it there, especially with the other 2 kids that go. It’s nice to see how good she responds to Heather now that she is used to her. Pippi loves playing sitting up now. She still wobbles over every now and then, but she’s getting better. She still loves her “Johnny Jumper” doorway swing…she will bounce for over an hour happily! She is still not sure about eating solids, but we try with her fruits and veggies every day. I’m still breastfeeding, and she’s still growing, so we’re not that worried. She’ll eat when she’s ready. Her hair is growing (a little!), but still no teeth. She makes lots and lots of sounds, and it’s precious!

We Suels are the process of taking some family photos by photographer extraordinaire Jez Hailwood. Be on the lookout on this blog for these in the next few days! Also, there are new photos on the "pic archive", especially of our trips to Vienna (see photo here!) and home to the States.
Keep us updated on yourselves, and send us photos when you can. Thanks for all your prayers and kindnesses.

We love you,
Jason, Sarah, and Pippi