Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Last Saturday, Elyse and I were the first two up in the house and decided to go on a mother/daughter yard sale shopping trip. At the first yard sale, there was a blanket on the ground with all kinds of baby dolls, Barbies, and stuffed animals. Elyse walked over to it, pointed to a doll and said, “my baby”. I looked down and saw that she was pointing to one of the least attractive dolls on the blanket. It was bald, naked, and broken (it use to “do” something since it had a battery pack and a very heavy head). Being the good mother that I am, I tried to offer Elyse one of the many other dolls and stuffed animals on the blanket. She looked at each one and said, “no, my baby.” Since it has been a tough couple of weeks for Elyse, I paid the $1 for her baby. Of course, I figured she would get home and forget all about the homely yard sale baby.

We went to a couple of other sales and she carried that baby around every place we went. When we got home that day, we gave the baby a bath, put on some clothes, and changed the batteries. Unfortunately, the new batteries did nothing. Elyse soon discovered that the baby could suck her thumb which thrilled her to no end! Elyse was so proud of her new baby. Almost a week later, Elyse still loves that baby. She has gone to the store, the park, church and the doctor’s office with us. The other day, we had to turn around when we (AKA Elyse) realized we had left her at home.

After watching Elyse with her baby doll this week, it dawned on me that this relationship was a great analogy to our relationship with God. Just like Elyse’s baby doll, we were chosen. God looked down and, out of all his beautiful, amazing creations, he chose us! Of course, we, too, are ugly, dirty with sin, and have run down batteries most of the time. However, he still loves us. We try to clean ourselves up with new clothes, makeup, and pretty smiles, but those things don’t matter to God. Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” God created our flesh, but he is most concerned with our spirit. He sees the potential in us and knows the plans he has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). We have been handpicked by Him to be a part of His plan.

After we turned the car around that day to get “my baby”, I handed the doll to Elyse. A few minutes down the road, I turned around and Elyse was sound asleep, hugging that baby doll. Don’t we all crave that kind of unconditional love? Don’t we all have times when we need to crawl into our heavenly Father’s arms and just rest? I noticed at that moment that it wasn’t the new clothes or freshly washed face that made that baby doll precious. It was Elyse’s love for that doll that made her beautiful. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

Friday, April 23, 2010

A week with no TV!

I heard somewhere that this past week was "National Turn Off the TV Week", so I decided to take on the challenge. We've never had cable, and I do stay busy most days with the kids. However, I find myself turning on PBS even when Kieran doesn't ask for it.

Monday, we started our day without turning on the tv! Step 1 accomplished! We went to the puppet theater that morning and then a friend of Kieran's came over for a playdate. They both asked to watch a movie several times throughout the afternoon, but I just casually responded that it was "no movie day". So, instead of watching Scooby Doo (Keiran's favorite), they started acting it out. The week went by with fun picnics in the park, stressful doctors appointments, and many opportunties (and excuses) to veg in front of the TV, but we didn't do it!

Last night, Kieran was going over the plans for the day ahead (which he likes to do...must be a planner like his mommy) and he listed lots of fun activities, none of which included TV or movies! Of course, this afternoon, he had 4 or 5 DVD's spread out on the chair as he was planning what to watch first when Saturday arrived!

While I'm not ready to get rid of our TV, I know now that we can survive without it, I can actually get things done, and the kids have an amazing imagination! Pick your own "turn off the TV week" and join us!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Elyse Update

Well, here we are a year after my last post on this blog! I was kind of surprised it was still out there and I still remembered the password. It has been quite a year for the Toler family to say the least. Many of my facebook friends have been asking about our daughter Elyse, so I thought I would write out the story here instead of using up space on Facebook.

Last November, we noticed a swollen lymph node in Elyse's neck. We took her to the doctor and they said it was probably just an infection and it would go away. Unfortunately, it didn't and after many, many tests, the doctors decided it needed to come out. In January, she had surgery to remove the lymph node. They thought it was something called an atypical mycobacterial infection which is rare, but her symptoms matched up with it. Unfortunatley, because of a mix-up in the lab, we were not able to get a culture of this first lymph node. However, surgery should have taken care of the infection.

Over the next two months, we took care of her incision, but noticed that she was developing new swollen lymph nodes on the same side of her neck. We met with an Infectious Disease Specialist who agreed with the mycobacterial diagnosis and suggested surgery again. It is very unusual for this infection to spread or affect other nodes, but her symptoms still seemed to match. On April 7th, Elyse had another node removed along with a mass of scar tissue. We are now in the healing process from that surgery. The wound has to heal from the inside out, so the incision was left open (with packing inside), and we go back to the doctor every 2 days to get more packing taken out. The newest incision is much deeper and wider than her first one, so it has taken a toll on our sweet girl. She is one tough cookie! So far, the tests done have not been able to confirm the mycobacterial infection, so we are back to the drawing board on the cause of her swollen lymph nodes. Right now we are praying for healing for the incision (Elyse is currently fighting a staph infection on the surface) and healing for whatever has caused these swollen nodes.

We greatly appreciate all the prayers, calls, and meals from our dear friends and family. Elyse is truly blessed to be loved by so many people!

O LORD my God, I called to your for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2