Hospital – Day 4

So many evidences of God’s presence were with us yesterday. {NOT THAT I NEED THESE SIGNS TO BELIEVE – but they sure are consoling!!!!} If I were to go in to them all at once in this post I would sound like an overexcited little kid rambling about EVERYTHING I saw on my first trip to the circus, “And then… !!!! And then… !!!!! And then… !!!!! And and and and!!!!”

One of the most poignant assurances happened when our second surgeon introduced himself to us. After a lengthy discussion about the procedure that Nora was about to undergo he noticed William’s TEAM MITCH shirt. {I had talked about Team Mitch in the Lots o Pictures post and last year’s Pigs Do Fly post, of which Nora was added as an honorary member.} The T-shirt William had on was vintage and didn’t have Nora’s name listed on them yet, but these are the shirts from the year Nora was born:


After William explained the shirt, it turns out that this surgeon knows the McLaughlin family well. Their young daughters are very good friends. In absolutely no instance of “coincidence” at that EXACT MOMENT OF CONNECTION (2:52 PM) Maria (Mitch’s wife) texted me a picture of her aforementioned daughter standing next to a big giant PINK Hello Kitty and reminding me that God’s got this, not to let satan distract me, and to let our guardian angels handle this.
(tearful breath of absolute awe in the knowledge that all the right people were in place at just the right time!!)

I think it’s safe to say that Mitch is looking out for his little Team Mitch buddy!!!!!! This was the 2nd occurrence of the day that involved Mitch — both impossible to ignore or dispute.


As I explained in yesterday’s post, Nora’s surgery had been bumped. She didn’t actually end up going down to the OR until about 3:45. We waited patiently in the stark empty room, void of our baby and her big girl hospital bed, thankful for the distraction of sweet friends who work here and our nurse.

The phone finally rang a little after 5 where one of the members of the surgical team explained that they were in the process of closing her back up. Everything looked good. Even though we knew we weren’t out of the woods by any means, William and I hugged, cried and gave mighty thanks and praise to God. We wanted to wait until we had the full story from the surgeon before we publicly declared anything, but thus far things were looking good!

Immediately after surgery Nora had a pulmonary hypertensive crisis which prolonged her stay in the OR. Fortunately they got it under control and they were able to bring her back up to the CICU around 7 pm. We were a little taken off guard when they quickly ushered us out into the waiting room and told us that it would be about an hour, maybe more before we could see her. They assured is this was just standard procedure. And so we waited. Finally around 8:30 we got to go back to see her. She was still very sedated, but her belly was sewn back up and she looked much better than she did with everything opened up. The report: Nora’s belly wasn’t exactly the PINK that we were all hoping and praying for, but it will be. It was pretty bruised up still, but it will heal and none of it was necrotic!!!!! PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE GOD!!!! Her g-tube was placed without complication and her intestines all looked really good. They did note some damage to her spleen and her pancreas. However, it was such a minimal amount they don’t expect that to cause any longterm problems down the road. While her surgery was a great success – the concern was now shifted to her heart and lungs. For a child without a heart and lung condition, it would be a tremendous undertaking to have undergone TWO major surgeries within 48 hours of each other. She basically had just run a marathon and was now needing this time to rest and recouperate.

Around 9:30 Nora experience some more pulmonary hypertension issues. Her sats were dropping steadily. They bagged her for a few minutes so they could see what settings needed to be adjusted on the vent and that seemed to improve things just a little bit.

Things were steady enough for me to go to try and get some sleep in one of the parent rooms, but no sooner had I layed down I got a text from William that Nora was having trouble. I tossed on my slides and scuried back to her room in my pajamas, people running past me to get to her room. I was scared. The lights were on full blast and the room was full of people. William stood back with fear in his eyes as they bagged her and suctioned her. I was grabbing at words to pray as I raced to his side, my heart beating out of my chest. “Come on baby girl!!!!! Come on!!!!!!” They called out orders to one another, rushing about the room, still suctioning, still manually ventilating her. Time stood still. We watched and we prayed. Suddenly the heavy pall was lifted from the room as the nurse suctioning held up a big “loogie” (medical terminology for mucus plug) that had every right to be accompanied by a celestial harp strum. There was a collective sigh of relief from all of us. Nora’s breathing was no longer labored. Her oxygen sats and CO2 levels recovered to normal levels and people began slowly streaming out of the room.

Today has been a very good day. There have been very few issues. They’ve had to increase her morphine a little bit, but she’s been able to come off of the epinephrine and calcium. She’s also been upgraded to a less critical state!! Things are headed in the right direction!! LIttle bitty baby steps!!!

For the most part, Nora is pretty sedated, but she did have some long periods of semi-consciousness. She was opening her eyes a little bit and turning her sweet fuzzy little head toward the sound of our voices. She’s been moving her arms and legs around a little bit too and had to get some soft little restraints around her wrists to prevent her from grabbing at her amassment of tubes and wires. It’s so strange to have these days absent of squeals and babbles. We miss Happy Baby so so bad, but we know she’ll be back. She is one TOUGH baby!!!!!

Three birds on the wallpaper border of Nora’s room:

Heart sun from my sister who pulled over to take this picture:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Post Surgery 1 / Pre Surgery 2 – Day 3

Nora had another very good night. Her heart, lungs and kidneys are all performing exactly as they should be. Yesterday afternoon a part of the surgery team commented that if there were an excess of dead tissue in her body – it would be reflected in other areas. That is not the case. She is doing exceptionally and surprisingly well. They are very optimistic that when they open her up again this afternoon they will see nicely profused, wonderful PINK!

Surgery was originally scheduled for 9:00 this morning, but because of a conflict between the cardiac anesthesiologist and the surgeon we’ve been bumped back to 2:00 this afternoon. We were initially a little bummed out about this, but as William commented – maybe God needs this extra 5 hours of healing to take place. God’s timing is perfect. Another huge lesson I’ve learned through all of this.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13, 14 NIV)

As I was driving home last night to grab some odds and ends I passed an electronic billboard along the highway. I have no idea what it was advertising, but the bright pink glow and the words THINK PINK in bold white font immediately caught my eye. I caught my breath as tears welled up in my eyes and a big smile spread across my face, “YES! Yes, I will!!!”


Post Surgery – Day 2

Nora had a good night last night, all things considered. We were forewarned that the first night after a major surgery like this is often rocky. It wasn’t and we are beyond thankful for that. Today they are only working on keeping her stable, which doesn’t seem to be much of an effort. Her precious little body is doing everything that it is supposed to.

I’m not going to post pictures of her for awhile because she’s been pretty beat up. Here’s a sweet picture of her little hand:


Things were really, really, really, horrifically awful yesterday. Nora was in septic shock. There was NO time to wait for the IV access team to arrive and even when they did get there, they too had a VERY hard time accessing any of her veins. Everything was shutting down. We counted 22 poke marks in her groin – and those are ones not under the Band-aid. In desperation they had to drill into the bone of her shins to get fluids into her. I am crying as I write this. She didn’t even flinch. William was right by her side and said he had seen this happen on TV as a last ditch effort to save a downed soldier while he was gettting helicoptered out of a war zone. Nora is certainly our little soldier and we were definitely in a war zone as we battled FIERCELY for her life. She was emergently intubated in the shock and trauma bay as they continued to give her fluids. After what seemed like an eternity, she was finally stabilized and brought up to the old familiar CICU. Things were so urgent that they were going to do the surgery right then and there, but they finally decided that she was stable enough to bring her down to the OR. And so we waited. Thank you Mom and Dad, Jesica and Tommy for allowing yourselves to be “hijacked by the Holy Spirit” as Jesica put it to be with us and to pray with us during that terrifying time.

Nora is hooked up to a billion tubes and wires and for now has an open wound just below her sternum extending through belly button and stopping just below it. The wound is covered with clear bandaging and is really scary looking, so I won’t share pictures of her right now.

As I said, Nora had a good night last night. We did end up getting some rest as our adrenaline storms subsided. Keeping her stable is the only course of action for today.

This morning as I approached her bedside to stroke her sweet hair, I smiled at a ray of sunshine that was LOUDLY and BOLDLY shining across her stomach. Its gentle warmth shined upon her, the hand of God, “I’ve got this!!! I’ve got this!!!” The Venetian blinds were closed too, I might add, but this ray of sunshine found its way to her right in the spot that needs healing. This is only a part of it which slightly resembled a heart: 20140519-113614-41774915.jpg

Tomorrow they will do more surgery. Please join us in specifically praying for nice PINK tissue. It is understandable if some parts can’t be salvaged, but we have witnessed countless miracles with this baby. God has shown through Nora that ANYTHING is possible.

One of the first messages I saw on Facebook this morning contained such encouragement for Nora along with these verses:

Good morning, precious Nora!
It is a day that the Lord has made. We will be glad and rejoice in it.

God loves you. And his love began even before you were born! “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”
(Psalm 139:13)

Every minute of every day, God is thinking about you and planning good things for you.
(Psalm 139:16-18)

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

God knows you through and through – and loves you anyway. There is nothing you can do to make him love you more… or less. You are the apple of his eye!
(Zechariah 2:8)

God is with always with you, no matter where you go or what you face. You will never be alone; he is always with you in the midst of daily struggles and trials. “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”
(Joshua 1:9)

God especially designed you, just as you are.

God bless you precious, and may His face shine upon you.


I got out of bed and fell onto my knees onto the cold floor in the dark, crying and thanking God for these words of truth and wisdom, for the knowledge that my baby girl had made it through the night.

I didn’t even realize until I just typed it out right now – – that last part: MAY HIS FACE SHINE UPON YOU.


I have no more words. PLEASE watch this:

Post Surgery

The organized chaos prior to surgery:


Nora just underwent emergency surgery for gastric volvulus. Somehow her stomach flipped on itself and was obstructed. She was in surgery for about an hour. The surgeon came out afterward and informed us that the condition of her stomach was initially very bad. They allowed it to rest for 10 minutes instead of drastically deciding to remove it. When they re-examined it, it DID pink back up in some areas but not all. They have done a partial closure so they can go back in tomorrow, 2 days, 3 days(?) to see if it has revived any more. At that point they will make the decision to remove any parts that are necrotic. We are PRAYING for full tissue recovery, that NO parts will need to be removed. They will also place a g-tube in her belly to prevent any future episode of her stomach twisting. This will “anchor it down” as it has been explained to us. She has quite a steep road to recovery ahead of her, but as our dear friend Tommy reminded us: STAY FOCUSED ON THE PRESENT. I think it was Proverbs 4:25 that he quoted, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”


Every Little Thing is Gonna Be All Right


I am in awe of all of your encouraging texts, comments and messages, your PRAYERS are so comforting and they are MOVING MOUNTAINS!!!!! I’m so sorry I can’t respond to each and every one right now. I thought we’d be coming up here maybe for some IV fluids…. Had no idea things were this wrong. Trying to catch my breath and get my feet back on the ground after this frying pan upside the head!

Emergency Surgery

Nora is going into emergency high risk surgery. Her stomach seems to have turned and is obstructed. She is intubated, sedated and stable right now, surgery is any minute.

Nora early this morning:

Prayers are hugely needed and appreciated.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Almost 41 years ago, I made my entrance into this world, bestowing the title of “Mom” onto the beautiful young woman who God designated to take on this daunting task. Today I say THANK YOU and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to that exceptional, world-class woman, my Mom. I love you so much!


Almost 21 years ago I chose to take on the bittersweet title of “birth mother”. It was a decision that didn’t come lightly or easily. Sensible Brain and Broken Heart argued for 9 months, often till wee hours of the morning. My pillow was reduced to a sopping battlefield of tears as one warred against the other. My broken heart eventually surrendering to sensibility.


Another woman’s words, “She will always know you love her,” eased my sadness as I placed her baby girl in her loving open arms. Today I say THANK YOU and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to S.’s Mom, another exceptional, world-class woman.

Nearly 11 years later and 11 years ago a robust 8 pound little man grabbed up at my tear-streaked face as he was placed on my chest, screaming and wailing. I ardently embraced my SON and the awareness that I was his MOM!


After several long and sleepless months of colic and crying the treasures of motherhood were finally revealed. This bald-headed, inquisitive little boy, his dimpled little fingers nestled in the palm of my hand–he would grow up to be a smart and funny kid, kind and loving, “everybody’s buddy”, as he’s known.

Fast forward to 2005 on a lovely, untroubled Spring afternoon, we received the news from the ultrasound tech that we were expecting a little GIRL! “What am I going to do with a little GIRL?!” I giggled to myself! I had become well-versed in the concerns of choo choo trains, airplanes, diggers, Hot Wheels, fire engines and trucks. I smiled at the prospect of pink dresses, tutus and tea parties.


She arrived with the sunrise and has been a ray of sunshine in our lives ever since. Her compassionate heart and her kind soul are what make her truly beautiful.

We had our boy, we had our girl and all was right with the world.

The rest of our story is before you on the pages of this blog. The days of excruciating fear and worry threatening to crush me beneath their weight. The times of ebullient joy spinning and whirling my soul off into the cloudless blue yonder. They are all here and all a part of this great journey of Motherhood.



Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the mothers out there! A special hug to the mothers who are without their babies and children today. And a special hug to the ones who are without their mothers. May God bless you especially so today. May you be comforted by the beautiful reunions that await you one glorious day.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
(Revelation 21:4, 5 NIV)

“Happy Mudder’s Day from meeeee!!”







Lots o’ Pictures!

“Aw, Hi! It’s me, Norns! Deez are some pictures and tings from before my birfday. Mommy wanted to dedicate the last post to just my birfday, so she left deez off. But I can share dem now.”

“Dis ting is someting Mommy created for me to play wif in da baff. It was fun for one day until Mommy realized the chains will rust in the waters. Mommy rigged up some new tings for me. Enen I play wif da chains NOT in da waters.”


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 NIV)


“I’m just hanging out in my nest wif my afghan watching Matlock!”


“Eenen I like to hang out on my Mommy.”


Give us each day our daily bread.
(Luke 11:3 NIV)


“Um, can I just please have some daily milks?”


And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
(2 John 1:6 NIV)

“I like to go for walks in love!”



“So do my brudder and my mudder!”


“You can’t even begin to imagines how sweet my skin smells! My brudder can’t get enough sniffs!”


“Me n’ my sister!”


“SHHHHHH!!!! I go night nights!”


“Deez are pictures from spring break when my brudder n sister had no schools. Dey went wif Mommy to watch the airplanes over at the airport.”



“Mommy loves me like crazy.”


“My brudder helps me drink my milks. Dat’s da only ting I like to eat.”


“Dis is my wash cloth. See it?”


“Mommy n Daddy took brudder n sister bowling one afternoon during spring break. We can’t travel so much because of some tings, so Mommy n Daddy tried to get out and do fun things locally wif doze big kids.”


“Mommy is an amazing bowler.”


“Daddy an my brudder are straight up playaz!!!” (in Claire’s)


“I don’t got time for none of dat. I’ll be napping in my NEST, straight up.”


“I’d like to buy a vowel, please?”


‘Mommy makes homemade apple pie. I hear it’s delicious, but I still just prefer the milks.”


“Dis is Greta wif Mommy and Gavin at IKEA waiting in line for Swedish meatballs with her fancy glasses she got the other day from Claire’s. I tink she’s real pretty.”


“Ennen when dey get home dey go down into da creek to play and hunt for treasures.”


“Will someone please pass the milks?”


“I’ll just be standing over here waiting….”


“Mkay. I’m in da baff. No more pickshers please!!”


“I had to go visit Dr. E so he could check on my sweet ears. Miss Kate came along wif us so she could keep an eye on me in da back seat while Mommy drived — you know, incase I needed spankinz. My ears looked fine, but I tink I must’ve misplaced one of my tubes. Dr. E dinnint see it anywhere in my little elf ear. Hmmm….”


“Aaah! It sure is good to be home!!”


“Mommy and Daddy out on a date.”
(We seek out quaint little restaurants in quaint little towns — preferrably river towns so we can do a scenic drive along the river. Here we are at The Courtyard in Rising Sun, Indiana. We will definitely go back to this one!)




“Me n’ Mommy sit out on the back deck sometimes when it’s real nice out. I need a big sun umbrella.”


“I get real tired sometimes when I go for walks!”


“I’m well rested so I can play wif my sister!”


“Mommy n Daddy went on a hike to see if they could find the source of the creek that runs past our house.


“It was all fun and games till Mommy got her pigtails pulled by Nature.” #whiplash


Love is sweet!


Love holds us together!


Love is our rock!




“Two kids on Mommy’s shoulders.”


“Mommy is in Gavin’s hair!!!”









“I like da waters too, but I’d rather be in baff waters.”


“Ooooooooh. Here I am at the eye doctor. Doze people put stinkin drops in my eyes eenen everyting is way too bright and I don’t like dat.”


“Would you look at dis?I?I? Dis is what happened in APRIL a couple days before my birfday. You’re doing it WRONG, Spring!!!!!”


“Mommy sees lots of hearts in the sugars!”


“Here’s a blue jay riding around on a squirrel’s back.” #cameratricks


“The snow has melted and the trees are budding.”


“An I’m budding into a big giant baby girl dat my sister can hardly hold anymore!”


“We had our friends over to dye Easter eggs on Friday night. Dey had quite da production going!”






“An I got to dye an eggy too!!!!!”


“Eenen Mommy drewed my name on my eggy!”




“Deez are pictures AFTER my birfday. I tink I’ve got dis “Being 2-Years-Old Ting” figured out. And maybe Mommy could get her phone camera figured out so we can get rid of these stupid spots that keep showing up on all of my pictures!!”


“I got so many cards and moneys and pretty new clothes and night gowns and pajamas and toys for my birthday! Tank you so much! I feel so very loved! Look what a big girl I am in my pretty dress (above) and my princess night gown (below)! “


“I don’t typically watch a lot of TV, but I got dis new television set and I DVRed a couple of programs. One is a show about the London Bridge. It fell down or someting? And da other show is about gentle boat rowing. I kinda like watching deez shows over and over and over again.” 


“My Mommy an my Oma went out to lunch on a pretty spring afternoon an they got to sit outsides! If I was wif dem I would have just ordered da milks. Dat stuff’s delicious.”


“Dere’s a new movie out. You might not have heard of it before. It’s called Frozens or someting? It’s about sisters! So of course I like to watch dis show wif MY sister. My sister loves me an protects ME too! I like to listen to my sister sing da songs. She knows ALL da words!”


“Last Sunday I stayed home wif my Kelly while everyone went to my little cousin Parker’s baptism. Me n my Kelly like some girl time, so dat’s cool!”

“Yes, Mommy shamelessly stole dis picture from Aunt Sarah’s Facebook page, but since Mommy took the picture with Aunt Sarah’s camera, is dat really stealing?”


“Happy baptism, Parker cousin!”

“Daddy an Gavin out in Uncle Bill’s old paddle boat. We sure miss Uncle Bill.”


Cousinly love!


Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
(Song of Solomon 2:12 NIV)


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28 NIV)


“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
(Jeremiah 31:3 NIV)


Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.
(Hebrews 13:1 NIV)






Nora had her two-year appointment with Dr. B on the 29th of April. She is doing very well but for the fact that she’s had an increase in oxygen needs over the previous weeks. She may have some allergy congestion (which would be easiest to explain since no one else in the house is sick!). But even when she’s had a cold in the past she’s never needed to be on this much oxygen apart from the pneumonia episode. She’s eating great, she’s gaining weight, she has had no fevers and for the most part is a happy little girl! Her home nurses have not noted any abnormal sounds on her lungs that would indicate pneumonia either, which is a relief. Our best guess is that Nora’s Lasix dosing may need to be adjusted. She’s still on the same amount as when she was tiny. Her cardiologist has also been alerted to these changes, but since she has no other serious symptoms, he is okay waiting until the next scheduled appointment to assess her on May 15.

Daddy got some extra lovings and cuddles in before this poor girl got 3 routine vaccination shots in her little leggies. She didn’t like that.


Nora in her stander during a physical therapy session ~


Mommy & Daddy’s little cutie ~


Mommy & Daddy’s big cuties ~


Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
(John 15:4 NIV)



Real busy with some things ~


Real sleepy with Mommy ~


It’s Greta’s turn to cuddle with her little sister ~


“Afore long, I can have some piggytails! My hairs get long!”



Meanwhile, bubbled wigs are all the rage!


Water drop heart on Nornor’s arm ~


Norns went for a long walk in circles around the house in her stander. She tolerated it for about 45 minutes which is a new record!


“You see all my chins? I’m chinny.”








On Sunday morning, Nora’s oxygen needs drastically increased. She was needing almost 2 Liters to keep her oxygen saturations in the low 90s while she was awake. I had the car packed and we were 2 seconds away from bringing her in to the ER. (Of course this stuff ALWAYS happens on a weekend.) While we were waiting for a call back from our pediatrician I got out my little green bottle of holy water that my Grandma brought back from a trip to Lourdes in 1992 – as her handwriting indicates on its label. I rubbed it on Nora’s chest, over her lungs and prayed over her. Scenes from our 2 week stay up at Children’s replayed in my mind and I wanted to run screaming off the edge of the earth. It’s during these times that I feel like we are driving around with an atomic bomb in the trunk. Any little bump in the road threatens to blow everything up into smithereens, snuffing out Life As We Know It. When I finally take a deep breath, pull over and “look in the trunk” there is no bomb. Instead of heading back to the driver’s seat, I slink over to the passenger’s side and sit down in the place I’ve needed to be all along.

He whispers,
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
(Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

After speaking with Dr. B, he was okay with us staying home. He prescribed Cefdinir (antibiotic) to see if that would alleviate any of her congestion on the chance that this was not allergy related. This was an antibiotic that Nora responded well to in the past. True to form, she took it again without any issues. By that evening she was on 3/4 of a Liter which is the lowest she’s been on in weeks. There is no way the antibiotic could have taken effect that quickly which only points toward the incredible, supernatural healing power of prayer.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8, 9 NIV)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
(Matthew 7:7-8)

Unfortunately Nora’s medical concerns coincided with the Flying Pig marathon. Nora is an honorary member of Team Mitch which was established in memory of Mitch McLaughlin who passed away very suddenly in 2006 at 30-years-old. This extraordinary group of family and friends come together each year to commemorate Mitch through their mutual love of running. We are blessed and honored to cheer them on. Last year, Nora partook in the 5K with Kate R. (one of Nora’s long time caregivers, and Mitch’s sister-in-law) and her husband John and friend Courtney. We had planned on joining up with everyone at the Team Mitch after-party, but weren’t able to do so. We were all wearing our Team Mitch shirts and cheering everyone on from our living room. We hope and pray we can be there next year!


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)