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12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 8)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel, is one of the older Christmas songs we sing. The original source material, “O Antiphon,” dates back to circa 800 AD.

This version is sung a cappella–solo voice with no accompaniment. This song helps me enter into the waiting of Advent. While we wait for Christmas day we remember that God’s people were waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years for the advent of Jesus.

Deep in the solemn lyrics and minor key are promises of redemption: “ransom captive Israel…from depths of hell they people save, and give them victory o’er the grave…disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”

Therefore, “Rejoice! Rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee O Israel.”

You can listen to O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and the whole album on one of the following:



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Zach update # 5

Sarah’s comments (with a splash of Tim)

No place like home

What an amazing day…Today, Tim read Psalm 138 and 139 which brought us to tears as we considered how God has been every moment of this journey fulfilling those promises. We were living in the midst of them!

2″I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.

On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

The strength of our souls has been miraculously increased. I am in awe of the stability of my spirit right now. It is no testimony to me – only the greatness of our God! But my flesh is weak… 🙂 Even though we had a decent night sleeping (thank you for praying for that!) by about 11:00 AM I started to feel the incredible fatigue in my body.

We checked out two hours sooner than we thought we’d be able to! God is so in the details.

Change of pace


My brother Jeremiah (age 21) came to visit just as we were getting ready to check out so we were able to go and get breakfast together before heading over to Kellogg Eye Center where the doctor would check the eye and remove the patch. We had a WONDERFUL time at Angelo’s in Ann Arbor around the corner from the hospital.Thanks Betsy Howell for that AWESOME recommendation! It was outstanding! Crab cake and eggs benedict anyone???? That’s what I’m talking about… 🙂 It was a really nice reprieve from the intensity of the past four days. We got to talk about life and relationships and good stuff.

I think we’ll hit Angelo’s whenever he has his monthly exam under anesthesia (EUA). A friend of ours from CCS has a daughter who had RB when she was a baby also and shared, among so many other helpful things, that they’d always make the day she had the EUA special by going to a special restaurant, bringing a special stuffed animal or doll etc. Angelo’s will the restaurant of choice i think… 🙂

Zach’s first outpatient visit

His eye looked good when we took the patch off. Mostly puffy and shut so it wasn’t too traumatic. As we’ve been home he’s been able to open it a bit more and it just looks kind of pink and glassy. After they take the eye out they replace it with a porous ball to which they attach the eye muscles and which becomes covered with eye tissue. Eventually the body just absorbs that piece as the new eye and you never really see it anymore-it gets covered by the prosthesis.  It sort of becomes the new eye ball and the base of the new prosthetic eye, which is actually more like a thick contact lense that covers it. For right now, there is a clear plastic “place holder”–a spacer holding the place of the prosthesis covering Zach’s “special eye” that keeps his lids from losing their shape while he heals.  At six weeks he’ll begin the process of fitting for the prosthetic eye.  There’s a little clearish discharge, but he seems to be doing well.  He’s on tylenol to keep him comfortable, arnica for bruising, Pre/Post Surgetone (I love homeopathy!) for post-op recovery etc. Tomorrow I’ll start him on euphrasia, a great homeopathic eye remedy… 🙂

He paints the wayside flower…

We’re scheduled for a follow up next week and then in 6 weeks we go again for a EUA where they’ll check the other eye for cancer and also take the impression of his left eye for the prosthetic.  By God’s grace Greg Dootz, the ocularist who makes the prosthetic eyes, went out of his way to meet with us briefly and show us where we’ll be working with him. He also showed us his wall of patients (their pictures!) over the years. We’ve heard from numerous people that he’s simply wonderful to work with. He was so kind and encouraging.  He reassured us, as many others have, that kids who grow up with a prosthetic eye live totally normal, productive and healthy lives. We are believing it!

When you walk through the hall at U of M next time, look for his banner.  He personally designs and crafts every prosthetic fitting for each patient as their eyes change through time.  He’s a genuine artist.  Zach will have multiple prostheses through childhood and beyond.  If you look closely, you can see examples of his handiwork.  It reminds Tim of how we say God paints each lady bug.  Here is God’s helper to paint some eyes.


God is awesome and we love to give him the glory in all of this. Tomorrow I think, I’ll share some other thoughts on the specific mercies we’ve seen in Zach’s condition.

More in the morning. I must sleep…



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