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Jan 30, 2010

Abby's Heart

From Michelle:

Every year Brent not only buys me a Valentine's Day present, he also chooses something special for our girls. I love that he knows how to pick the perfect gifts to make his girls feel loved.

This year Abby and Hannah are breaking tradition by asking Daddy to buy them a specific gift. They have their hearts set on a beautiful Valentines Day t-shirt. While they love the design, what they love most is that for every shirt purchased an African orphan will receive a shirt and a pair of shoes. Abby's face lights up as she dreams about a little girl like her getting some clothes she desperately needs.

Could you help them too? They are taking orders until February 1 st at noon. Click here to order.

Be My Valentine



Below is a message from a friend's blog. Looking at these precious faces makes me long to spend a lifetime living and working in Africa.



As of today, we have sold 589 HopeChest T shirts!! We only need 11 T’s to reach our “new” goal of 600. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know Tom Davis and the children are jumping up and down right now in Africa! Please join me and praying that we hit 600 by Feb. 1st! Together, lets break some crazy T shirt records!

We’ve exceeded the 400 goal and are now opening up to older kids…we have set a new goal for HopeChest Project “Shirts For Shoes” Please pray we can sell an additional 200 T shirts to provide new shoes for OLDER orphans at the Kolfe Orphanage in Ethiopia. Their shoes cost 3x more $. Please donate now-click here.





Jan 29, 2010

More Winter Pics - Lots of Snow Now

From Brent

It's been snowing all day and of course the kids want to get out and play even though it's about -3000 wind chill. We braved a few more pics:


Abby loves the snow. She doesn't really get cold much,
it's pretty amazing. We thought she would be a little "fragile"
but she's not. She loves it.


Check the mail, shovel the snow while the kids play.


Not conducive to webslinging; SpideyLandis ponders the situation.


Abby and Sami stayed out long after the rest of us got cold.


Sami absolutely loves the snow.
She never saw it in Ethiopia.


Who's the moron in shorts????
I finally found something slightly WHITER
than my own legs.

Ice Storm Update

We got power back late last night. Now its snowing. Lots of ice damage. Here are some pics although I (Brent) couldn't get many good ones because it's snowing too hard.


Pine tree behind our house; several big limbs broken off


Ice coating the trees, now snow falling on them too.


See that power line that is only about 10 ft off the grown because
of our neighbors tree hanging on it?


Ice is beautiful but dangerous.


Ice, broken limbs and icicles.

Jan 28, 2010

Ice Storm & Abby Update

From Brent

We are having a massive ice storm. Power out, running on generator. Not sure how long we'll be down.

From Michelle

Abby's inracranial pressure has been down for a couple of weeks but until now I couldn't celebrate. Was I thankful… of course but I couldn’t celebrate. I tried to, I knew I should but a friend of mine was hurting and scared. Her daughter was still in danger and it hurt my heart to celebrate Abby's blessing while Avalon was still in a dire situation. Avalon's mom, Alicia is always first in line to cheer when we get good news about Abby and brilliant writer that she is, I am sure she would have found the perfect words to give me a friendly tongue-lashing, if she knew the thoughts that were roaming through my head.

Avalon had surgery to relieve her intracranial pressure on Wednesday. Because of a huge mistake by a different surgeon, Avalon's surgical options were very limited. Her surgeon prepared her parents for three possible outcomes: 1. she would be mute for the rest of her life 2. she would be permanently paralyzed 3. the catheter her incompetence former surgeon dropped into her brain (several years ago) would shift during this surgery and cause a fatal injury to her brain stem. Can you imagine kissing your daughter goodbye and then handing her over to the surgical team?

I prayed for a miracle. YOU prayed for one too. And God answered. Avalon’s doctor found the upper part of the catheter (VP Shunt) worked perfectly but the valve was malfunctioning. Once the valve was replaced the VP shunt worked perfectly. It was able to remove the excess cerebrospinal fluid and shunt it into her abdomen. If the surgeon had needed to replace the old catheter it would have, baring a miracle, damaged her brain permanently.

So, now I can finally celebrate the fact that Abby’s intracranial pressure is down and I get to thank God for healing Avalon. God is so good.

Avalon is still healing from the surgery. Pleased continue to pray for healing and pain control.

Jan 27, 2010

Photos of the Kids & Suggest a Caption Contest

From Brent

I'm going to update my Fit@45 only once a week. We are actually losing readers who apparently think that is the primary focus of our blog... can't win, huh?
- - - - - - - - -
I LOVE to take pics of kids. Especially my own... Love, love, love. Wish I had a job doing it. Here's a few from tonight. See if you can help us with some captions.

I'll send the winners of each caption contest a free e-copy of my newest Digital Photography Guide or your pick of one of my books (if you want it!).


Abby received some packages today in the mail
from our wonderful blog friends. She was so excited.
What do you thinking is she thinking in this photo?
Leave a picture caption:


SpideyLandis was very happy for Abby,
helping her enjoy each wonderful gift and daydreaming about...?
Leave a caption suggestion and read his mind for us:


We're so blessed to have all three of them love each other so much.
SpideyLandis is scheming, "as soon as this photo is done, I'm going to..." what?


Sami was actually trying to get Abby to do something and Abby
just kept grinning at her because she... ???


I (Brent) loved this photo. Not sure why. It just really touched me.
Why do you think it had some an impact on me? Leave your caption/thought:


Sami and Abby were just playing around while I was setting up my camera.
Help me with a caption for this pic:


Your caption:


It's great to be a photographer and have such beauty
to focus the lens on. Kind of makes it easy for me, huh?
This was actually about the 100th photo I took of Sami (Hannah)
because I messing with experimental settings on my camera (what do
you think of the result?). What do you think she is thinking after a
hundred guinea pig shots for Dad?

Brent: Fit@45 Day 10

From Brent:

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. Join me and our blog friends will chew our butts out if we don't stick to our commitments.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 11.2 lbs.
Body Fat: 25.6%
Muscle %: 39.6%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Grilled veggies, tuna; cabbage slaw; banana, pistachio's; too many calories though; was grazing too much even though it was good food.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: Walked for one hour, 140 heart rate.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Tip:

There is no one size fits all when it coming to using a scale. You'll hear 100 different opinions from 90 people. I like to weigh every day. I understand and don't get discouraged by fluctuations. Today I was UP a little bit. Water weight will do that. No big deal. But weighing every day keeps ME focused. Pick an interval that keeps you focused: daily, weekly, monthly... or maybe pant size is your measurement. Whatever works.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

When things aren't progressing easily or get hard (and it will) you have to have the RIGHT REASONS or you'll abandon your effort, physically or spiritually. Always have reasons for whatever you are doing that transcend daily circumstances or personal fickleness. Know those reasons and review them daily. Have them at your fingertips so you can refer to them when you feel like quitting.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together


If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...
  • Maria P.: went to Weight Watchers last night and I lost 3.4 lbs. I am very HAPPY!!! That makes 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I am going to the gym tonight and on Sunday.
  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.
  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.
  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!
  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.
  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!
  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.
  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.
  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.
  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.
  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.
  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here is an assortment of health and fitness lists that is growing each day. Please read, enjoy and add your own entries:
  • Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy
  • Exercise & Fitness Tips
  • Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips
  • Great Diet & Exercise Blogs
Read all the lists here...

Jan 26, 2010

Brent: Fit@45 Day 9 & Sami Basketball

From Brent:

Sami (Hannah) is going out running with me now, and we dribble the ball around the track. She gets a lot of good basketball practice in, and get to have more fun exercising. Really cool!

Sami is a JOY to coach because she is VERY teachable. Whatever you teach her today, she listens, she WANTS to learn it, and then you see her doing exactly what you taught her in the next game. Every athlete/coach/Dad's dream...

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. Join me and our blog friends will chew our butts out if we don't stick to our commitments.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Monday, January 25, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 11.8 lbs.
Body Fat: 25.6%
Muscle: 39.6%

Did I stick to diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Made some mixed raw cabbage with carrots, green peppers and balsamic vinaigrette; tuna, zuchinni, mushrooms, apple; protein shake with flax seed.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: 1/2 hour P90X; 1 hour walk/jog and 2 100 yard dashes.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Tip:

Have some variety in good vegetables and learn to eat them without all the dressings and sauces. It doesn't take long to develop a real taste for them, and in fact, you'll find them being the object of your cravings instead of the carbs and junk food. I'll try to do some demo's on my favorite low-cal vegetable creations over the next few days.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

A healthy and fit body also provide clarity of mind and mental energy. Those in turn, allow us more productive and enriching study of God's Word and the emotional capacity to minister to others.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together


If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...
  • Maria P.: went to Weight Watchers last night and I lost 3.4 lbs. I am very HAPPY!!! That makes 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I am going to the gym tonight and on Sunday.
  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.
  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.
  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!
  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.
  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!
  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.
  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.
  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.
  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.
  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.
  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here is an assortment of health and fitness lists that is growing each day. Please read, enjoy and add your own entries:
  • Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy
  • Exercise & Fitness Tips
  • Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips
  • Great Diet & Exercise Blogs
Read all the lists here...

Jan 25, 2010

Abby Update & Pooh Gifts

From Michelle:

Abby has been HEADACHE FREE for 2 days!!! Thank you for continuing to pray for our precious daughter. Abby had a fairly good weekend. She slept a lot (15-18 hours a day) but was able to go to church and Hannah’s basketball game. She really only watched other children play but even that is an improvement. Watching other kids play may sound like a little thing but for Abby it was huge. Any step towards normal is a blessing.

Today Abby was too tired to go to school (the medicine for her intracranial pressure makes her one heartbeat above a coma). She found a burst of energy in the afternoon and made it to dance class. Abby is taking dance class instead of going to physical therapy. So, dance is not only a lot of fun, it is also helping her overcome physical damage caused by the chemo she continues to take. I love it when things that are truly fun are also helpful.

This week Abby has an appointment at the oncology clinic and her long awaited neurology appointment. Since her headaches are gone, I am asking that they wean her off of the extended release Morphine. I know there are no guarantees her intracranial pressure will stay down but while they are, I want her on as little dope-a-dope as possible. My hope is by getting her off the Morphine, a little of her energy will return.

My Facebook friends know Abby’s breathing is getting a little rough again. She is coughing/wheezing/snoring all night. I am sure this is affecting her energy level and frankly, I am not sleep so well either. I wish I could learn to listen to Abby’s breathing without thinking about losing Katie. During the day it is easy to focus on our children and enjoy being with them, at night, once they are in bed it is a different story.

Abby & Pooh Gifts

Brent got some shots of Abby opening a gift that came in the mail this week...


The Pattersons down in Wimberly TX sent Abby a box of her
favorite characters.... Pooh. Mattie, the Pattersons daughter loves
Abby so much she has made it her mission to raise money for
our next adoption. WOW... what a wonderful young lady.
Brent is going to do a magazine story on her in SeriousLife Magazine.


Abby was in Pooh heaven getting one of each of the characters.


See the pillow case? It was signed with bests wishes
from the family and friends of the Pattersons.
We are so blessed to have so many people love Abby,
many of them who have never even met us or Abby personally.
This is Christian love in action...

Brent: Fit@45 Day 8

From Brent:

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I update daily on the blog, and I'm begging you to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. The MckLinky lists below will grow and benefit us all.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Sunday, January 24, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 10.0 lbs.
Body Fat: 25.9%
Muscle Weight: 39.8%
Visceral Fat 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: All weekend; proteins, salad, lots of veggies.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: One hour on Saturday, walking/jogging; no exercise on Sunday.

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Tip:

The heart rate monitor I use is the Timex IronMan Targeted Training watch. It allows me to set up the amount of time I want to exercise, and my target heart rate. When I get out of that heart rate zone, it beeps at me. I set up the exercise time for :30 minutes and do TWO sessions. That way, if I'm walking or jogging out on the street, I can got "out" for :30 minutes, then know when to turn around and head back.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

This body will not last. It is temporary. That's why we shouldn't be obsessed about it or place our hope in it. However, that's different from being fit and healthy so that we can use the body God gave us to help others, enjoy our family and be an example of self control and discipline. We should care for our bodies so that we can glorify God through our use of it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together


If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...
  • Maria P.: went to Weight Watchers last night and I lost 3.4 lbs. I am very HAPPY!!! That makes 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I am going to the gym tonight and on Sunday.
  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.
  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.
  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!
  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.
  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!
  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.
  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.
  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.
  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.
  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.
  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here is an assortment of health and fitness lists that is growing each day. Please read, enjoy and add your own entries:
  • Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy
  • Exercise & Fitness Tips
  • Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips
  • Great Diet & Exercise Blogs
Read all the lists here...

Jan 22, 2010

Abby Good News Update & Day 6 of Fit@45

From Michelle:

I didn't know it was possible to be this excited, happy, grateful and sad (for my friend, more below) at the same time.

Abby's doctor did a spinal tap to see if her intracranial pressure was responding to the medication. Her pressure normally skyrockets after 3-4 days. It's been over a week and..

Abby’s pressure was almost normal!

Normal is 8 to 12 or 14, depending on who you are talking to. After all Abby has been through her pressure of 16 is fabulous. Abby is having much milder headaches and won’t need surgery if it stays this low. Praise God!

Please pray for Avalon...

While we rejoice for Abby, it is tempered knowing that our friend's daughter is NOT doing well, and her pressure remains a serious issue.

To the right is a pic of Avalon and her dad a few weeks ago, after the first of three surgeries. Like Brent did for Abby, he shaved his head when Avalon had hers shaved.

Avalon is a leukemia survivor who is suffering from increased intracranial pressure. She needs surgery on Monday but because of a botched surgery, Avalon's surgeon and parents must make a heartbreaking decision.

There are two possible surgeries that will help relieve the pressure, one will leave her permanently mute and the other will paralyze her. Would you please pray for a miracle for beautiful Avalon and divine wisdom for her parents?

Doped to the Max

The medication Abby is responding to is nicknamed "Dope-a-max" (Topomax). It earned the name because of the doped up, spacey look most of the people have when taking it. Abby is sleeping 14-20 hours a day and when she is awake she is not all "there". The narcotics and chemo add to the problem.



Brent got this photo of her today. She fell asleep in her "craps shirt"...
(that's how Abby says CRAFTS; it is one of Brent's old t-shirts)

She sleeps for hours on end and we finally just have to force her to wake up and live life. I am with Abby 24/7 but I miss her smile and sweet personality. Our hope is that the side effects will get better over time but if not they are a lot better than brain surgery.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Abby.

From Brent:

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I update daily on the blog, and I'm begging you to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. The MckLinky lists below will grow and benefit us all.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Friday, January 22, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 6.4 lbs.
Body Fat: 26%
Muscle Weight: 39.6 lbs.
Visceral Fat %: 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Ate healthy foods but ate too much; need to cut down on calories, be better about portions and tracking calories.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: Worked out TWICE; 2 hours of walking/jog/steps at 140 heart rate.

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Tip:

Get a heart rate monitor. A chest strap seems to be more accurate than just the watch alone. Get one that allows you set your target heart rate zone. That way, when you drop below or rise above the heart rate you should be at (55-70% of max for the best fat burning) it beeps at you and you know to adjust. It is VERY helpful to make sure you are exercising at the proper intensity to burn fat. My target zone is 134-144 beats per minute. I'm 44 years old.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

America is fixated on body image, to the point of obsession. That is wrong. However, it's just as wrong to simply not care that much for the body God gave you. The right balance is found in moderation, self discipline and understanding that good fitness allows you to use your body to do God's work, serve others and be an example to those around you.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together


If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...
  • Maria P.: went to Weight Watchers last night and I lost 3.4 lbs. I am very HAPPY!!! That makes 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I am going to the gym tonight and on Sunday.
  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.
  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.
  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!
  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.
  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!
  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.
  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.
  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.
  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.
  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.
  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Here is an assortment of health and fitness lists that is growing each day. Please read, enjoy and add your own entries:
  • Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy
  • Exercise & Fitness Tips
  • Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips
  • Great Diet & Exercise Blogs
Read all the lists here...

Brent Fit@45: Day 5 & Good News on Abby

From Brent

We had some good news finally about Abby. Michelle is writing an update and we'll put that up with some pics later today.

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I update daily on the blog, and I'm begging you to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. The MckLinky lists below will grow and benefit us all.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 6.4 lbs.
Body Fat: 26%
Muscle Weight: 37.6 lbs.
Visceral Fat %: 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Tuna, pickles, green beans, sirloin steak, apple.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: Only 30 minutes of bowflex in the morning. Was getting ready to go do my hour cardio, and my back started having spasms from rolling around wrestling with my three youngest kids. Got up first thing this morning though and did an hour cardio at 140 heart rate.

Thanks for holding me accountable on my diet and exercise. I need to lose about 70 pounds overall.

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Tip:

Make sure you have a good pair of shoes. Spend the money on good shoes. Having a poor pair of shoes will hurt your legs and feet. You'll quit before you ever get started. It doesn't matter what ugly workout clothes you wear, but protecting your feet is critical.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

Personal willpower can only take you so far. It might take you VERY far. But eventually it will dry up or fail. Your reasons for being fit, or doing ANYTHING, have to transcend daily circumstances. My reasons for getting fit are so I can be healthy and strong to help others and do ministry; so I can have more energy and quality of life for my wife and kids; so I can be a good example of self discipline in ALL areas of my life (whereas physical fitness is big gaping failure currently).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together


If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...

  • Maria P.: went to Weight Watchers last night and I lost 3.4 lbs. I am very HAPPY!!! That makes 10 lbs in 2 weeks. I am going to the gym tonight and on Sunday.

  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.

  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.

  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!

  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.

  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!

  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.

  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.

  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.

  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.

  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.

  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Exercise & Fitness Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Great Diet & Exercise Blogs:

Jan 21, 2010

Brent Fit@45: Day 4

From Brent

Brent's Shameless Must Read Plug:

Jill Samter is a dear friend of our family and the author of "Breaking Free: Truths for Healthy Living". Her blog is listed down below in the list of health and fitness links.

I MUST shamelessly plug Jill's book. Go check it out here... hundreds of pages of GREAT health information. I found it so interesting I've read it a couple of times already. It's a well designed, easy to read book that contains a treasure of truths for healthy living. And, thanks to Jill, if you buy her book this month, the proceeds will go towards our adoption. WIN/WIN/WIN for everyone!

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I'll be putting a daily update on the blog, and you have my permission to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. You'll see some MckLinky lists below that will grow over time and benefit us all. If you have friends and family who need to get healthy, tell them about this post, and invite them to join us on this journey.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 6.0 lbs.
Body Fat: 26%
Muscle Weight: 37.6 lbs.
Visceral Fat %: 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Tuna; oranges and apples; salad with carrots and green peppers, vinaigrette; grill chicken; coffee.

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: Half hour P90X in the morning with BowFlex; 1 hour elliptical at night; all with 140 heart rate maintained.

Thanks for holding me accountable on my diet and exercise. I need to lose about 70 pounds overall.

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

Learn how to calculate your maximum workout heartbreak. Then calculate the optimal fat burning heartbreak and send your heart rate monitor to that sound. Here's some good links to visit:
  • http://www.howtobefit.com/determine-maximum-heart-rate.htm
  • http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4736
  • http://www.thewalkingsite.com/thr.html
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/target-heart-rate/SM00083
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together

If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...

  • Maria P. wants to lose 130 lbs. She said: As I write this I am in awe of the number. But I am SOOOO HAPPY that I am NOT ALONE.

  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.

  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.

  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!

  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.

  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!

  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.

  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.

  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.

  • Meg: I am 30 and I want to lose 45 to 50 lbs. My blog is www.megsminutes.blogspot.com.

  • Roy A. wrote: I started the first of the year with losing some weight. I would love to lose 25lbs. Just by eating healthier.

  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Exercise & Fitness Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Great Diet & Exercise Blogs:

Jan 20, 2010

I Don't Want To Be Abby Anymore

From Michelle:

On Monday, Abby looked up at me with her big brown eyes. As tears quietly ran down her face and said, "Mommy, I don't want to be Abby anymore." And she meant it. At five years old she now understands that other kids don't spend their days enduring one medical procedure after another. She knows people feel sorry for her and that bothers her more than the medical tests. She doesn't want pity. She wants to be a normal little girl.

I wish I could stop all of this, and give her the break she obviously needs. The medications she is taking are draining all of her energy but if we stop them her pain would be crippling. Abby's has one appointment after the other lined up with specialists who are trying to help her regain her health. Spreading the appointments out is impossible so we are continuing to run the gauntlet.

Yesterday, Abby slept every time she was still for more than a minute. She is simply exhausted. I pulled her out of the car, sound alseep and took her into her hospital's sleep lab. Thanks to a wonderful friend, Jessica, she knew a lot of what was going to happen but even prepared, it would have been hard for most people to handle. She didn't like having sticky stuff smeared in her hair or having electrodes dotting her body. I thought the tube they put up her nose was annoying her but by morning we realized she had reacted to it and her lip was swollen.

She didn't want to do the sleep study but she did it without complaint. She was very quiet but allowed it all to happen. After a couple of last minute bathroom breaks, she laid still and went to sleep. She stayed asleep even when wires were being adjusted, until we woke her up in the morning.

On the way home we stopped to eat a promised breakfast. She seemed glad to be there but before we were finished she got a far away look in her eyes and the tears started trailing down her face again. Not bratty, "I didn't get my way" tears. They were quiet soulful drops no 5 year old should ever cry.

So now you know why I am searching for fun activities Abby can do when she is tired, often with little strength and fragile emotions. We need to find ways she can be a five year old little girl, instead of a battle hardened cancer veteran.



Would you help us think of LOW MAINTENANCE, LOW PREPARATION games, crafts, activities and things Abby can do? Use the Idea MckLinky list below to add your suggestion:

Brent Fit@45: Day 3

From Brent

Reader comments & my response:

Marie said:
Good for you Brent, you'll be helping yourself and your family, and inspiring your readers to get healthy!! I'm a fitness instructor so feel free to ask any questions I'll be happy to help.

Brent:
Marie, please feel free to send me tips, comments, observations, etc and I'll work them into my daily updates. If you see me doing something wrong, or think I could do something better, don't be bashful! I'll appreciate you, promise.

Amanda said:
I saw your blog about dieting and just wanted to offer support should you or anyone else on the blog need it. I have my degree in Nutrition and am Certified in Adult Weight Management (by the American Dietetic Association).

Brent:
Thanks Amanda! Feel free to comment, respond and send me tips anytime. I'll work them into the daily updates for all to benefit from. If you have a blog, be sure to put it in our health and fitness blog list below.

Jill Samter said:
Brent, any books that sell for the next four weeks is YOURS towards the adoption fund! Thanks for sharing the link to the book blog :-)

Brent's Shameless Must Read Plug:

Jill Samter is a dear friend of our family and the author of "Breaking Free: Truths for Healthy Living". Her blog is listed down below in the list of health and fitness links.

Jill, how cool and unexpected! Thanks so much for that wonderful surprise. Okay, now I MUST shamelessly plug Jill's book. Go check it out here... hundreds of pages of GREAT health information. I found it so interesting I've read it a couple of times already. It's a well designed, easy to read book that contains a treasure of truths for healthy living. And, thanks to Jill, if you buy her book this month, the proceeds will go towards our adoption. WIN/WIN/WIN for everyone!

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I'll be putting a daily update on the blog, and you have my permission to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. You'll see some MckLinky lists below that will grow over time and benefit us all. If you have friends and family who need to get healthy, tell them about this post, and invite them to join us on this journey.

Yesterdaily Update

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 3.4 lbs.
Body Fat: 45.5%
Muscle Weight: 175 lbs.
Visceral Fat %: 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Tuna, some pulled pork, chicken breast; all small portions; salad, apple, some pistachios

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: One hour, walk/jog keeping heart rate at 140

Thanks for holding me accountable on my diet and exercise. I need to lose about 70 pounds overall.

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Daily Thought:

To begin with, walking is probably the best exercise for those who are out of shape or who are beginners in athletics and fitness.

A brisk hour long walk (or whatever you can do safely; consult your health professional) will keep your heart rate in the optimal zone for fat burning in the early stages of getting in shape. In the coming days, I'll tell you how to figure your max heart rate and optimal fat burning heart rate.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together

If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). Tell me your name (anonymous or just first name if you want), the amount of weight you want to lose, your blog (if you want me to link to it publicly), and any comment/goals you have. I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me? We can do it together?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds...

  • Maria P. wants to lose 130 lbs. She said: As I write this I am in awe of the number. But I am SOOOO HAPPY that I am NOT ALONE.

  • Laurel, age 48, needs to lose 100 lbs. She said: Yikes, I don't even want to print that, thought about putting 50, and then saying I wanted to lose 50 more. But I'm trying to be real here.

  • Lauri is only 13 and said: But I'm 20 pounds overweight and working on getting it off. I'm doing it the healthy way and being monitored closesly by a nutritionist.

  • Kathleen said: I’m with you Brent. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I started January 6 at 157. We are taking our little one to Disneyland this summer and I HAVE to be able to run around and have a good time with her!

  • Kristina, who has some major back problems, wrote: I would like to join you in your getting fit. I am hoping to lose about 50 lbs. As far as the working out I am not able to do that because of my back but I am trying to be more active and I can eat healthy.

  • Erin emailed me: It is time for me to get my butt in gear and lose the baby weight! I have no interest in crash dieting. I want to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model to my children. I am 32 years old and I would like to lose 25 pounds. I am excited about my goal and would love to work along with you!

  • From Beth: I'm 26 years old (down 50 lbs since I had my son Feb 2009), working on losing 30-40 more.

  • Luci wants to join us: I will be 55 at the end of October. I have slowly gained weight over the past 10 years and would like to lose at least 20 pounds.

  • Jennifer P: I want to lose 50 lbs also; working hard at it... cardio and weights 6 days a week.

  • How about you? (if I've missed anyone, let me know; you can join us ANY time!)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Exercise & Fitness Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Great Diet & Exercise Blogs:

Jan 19, 2010

Sleep Study Picture

From Michelle:

Abby is such a good sport.

I am with Abby at her sleep study. They placed wires on her from head to toe, stuck tubes under her nose and then wrapped her head in gauze to keep the electrodes on her head in place. Abby was not thrilled about having so many things stuck on her but didn't complain at all.

This test was originally ordered because sleep apnea can sometimes cause increased intracranial pressure. I doubt this is the cause but it is reasonable to test her.

Please join us in praying for accurate results. We would love to hear that that everything is fine but would also love to find a way to help Abby rest better so she would have more energy to play, learn, heal and grow.

Thank you for praying for Abby.

Brent Fit@45: Day 2

From Brent

I'll be 45 years old in May. Over the past 2 years with all the challenges we've faced, I have roller-coastered up and down 20-40 pounds in weight several times.

My twin brother, Bruce, got off the roller-coaster and now finds himself back at his HIGH SCHOOL WEIGHT and in the greatest shape of his life. No, he didn't do some extreme, crazy, drug-aided nuttiness... he simply changed his diet to healthy foods only and committed to exercise 6 days a week.

He knows the stress and disruptions our family has dealt with and how hard it has been for me to be dedicated to good eating and exercise. He also knows how good he feels now. So has really been pushing me and encouraging me to join him... and I am.

My goal is to be "Fit@45". Want to join me?

It doesn't matter how old you are. I'll encourage and support anyone who wants to join me. I'll be blogging about my experience and writing helpful information and encouragement for everyone who wants to read it.

I'll be putting a daily update on the blog, and you have my permission to absolutely hound me and chew my butt out if I do not stick to my commitments. You'll see some MckLinky lists below that will grow over time and benefit us all. If you have friends and family who need to get in shape, tell them about this post, and invite to join me on this journey.

Anyone who has been around us long, knows we help a lot of folks. It's what we love to do with our life. Answer questions, advise, teach, mentor... and especially minister to orphans, widows and families. We rarely come on the blog and blatantly ASK FOR HELP... well, I'm asking for your help with this. How? Accountability, tips, ideas and encouragement.

I really would like to be alive to enjoy all my kids growing up. This roller-coaster-weight-loss-and-gain, and all the physical stress our family challenges have stirred up for us, make this a real health issue for me; not just a quality of life (which is an important reason) but a quantity of life. My wife doesn't want me to drop dead from a heart attack. I'm pretty sure most of my kids don't either, and I'm at least 50/50 on the issue myself.

Now the Lord may choose to take me anyway, but it doesn't have to be because of my own physical neglect.

So What Now?

Before I tell you what I'm doing, let me give this preface: while overweight, I'm still pretty strong, frequently do hard physical work, and athletically active (though not consistently). I'm not a couch potato or "soft" by any stretch.

I'm pretty educated about physical fitness and have enjoyed a high level of fitness in the past as a former Army Drill Sergeant, a black belt in Kenpo and a competitive tennis player for over 20 years. I'm also educated about diet, food, eating habits, glycemic index, carbs, organic foods, etc.

I tell you all that to say that KNOWLEDGE is not my problem... it's commitment and consistency. I know what my body is capable of, what diet is best for me and what kind of exercise program is appropriate for my goals.

Healthy Eating

Having said that, my commitment to what food I eat is this: fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, whole unprocessed grains, eggs and most raw unprocessed foods within reason unless they are particularly high fat, carbs or calories. I understand what are good oils, good fats and good carbs. I also have a good friend, Jill Samter, who is a a guru at all things food. You should check out her blog and book here if you haven't seen it. Great stuff.

Healthy Exercise


Besides playing tennis whenever I can, I am committed to one hour of a cardio mix minimum, six days a week. For example, yesterday I walked/jogged and climbed stadium steps for an hour keeping my heart rate at the optimal 80-90% range, perfect for burning fat. I also own the P90X workout series and I mix that in. It is a VERY intense workout, so for now, I'm going about half P90X, and half walk/jog/steps.

FYI... because of water weight, I'll lose a some big numbers in the first week or two. Don't take that as a sign of some extreme starvation diet. A personal genetic gift from my beloved mother is my ability to easily hold water when I don't eat right. It sheds quickly though with exercise and good eating.

Before and After Photos


Yes, I took some starting photos. When I make some REAL PROGRESS, I'll post them with some updated photos. I don't want to put them up now because I've accomplished nothing yet not to mention they are embarrassing. I want to wait and be able to show real progress to encourage myself and those who are doing this with me.

If you are going to do this with me, then take some starting photos for later use... from the front, side and behind. Preferably, wear something that shows your actual shape so you can see the progress as you go along.

Quick Daily Updates on the Blog

I'm not going to bog down the blog with a long post every day. I'm going to post my daily numbers, write a couple of thoughts, and include the lists below that will grow over time. I'll write more if a lot of people ask questions and WANT me to write more. Otherwise, I appreciate your encouragement and holding me accountable. I hope you LET ME HAVE IT with BOTH BARRELS if I don't keep my commitment.

Not sure what, but I'll come up with something special for everyone when I reach my goal of "Fit@45". I have no idea what but I always appreciate the kindness and encouragement of our blog family, and if you'll help me get healthy, I'll think up something fun and exciting in return.

Today's Daily Update

Here's what a typical post each day will look like. The lists will be included and I hope you'll continue to add to them over time. Each days "numbers" will be what I did YESTERDAY:

Date: Monday, January 18, 2010
Weight loss since Jan 18th, 2009: 3.0 lbs.
Body Fat: 45.6%
Muscle Weight: 175.2 lbs.
Visceral Fat %: 22%

Did I stick to *diet yesterday? Yes
Comments about eating: Chicken, eggs, apples, salad

Exercise yesterday? Yes
Comments about exercise: Walked/jog/stadium steps for one hour

*Diet: Proteins, veggies, fruits, raw foods. Violations are sugar, white flours, processed food, overeating or bad eating.

Daily Thought:

The hardest part is getting started. Find a group of friends who will encourage you and hold you accountable. You have START for the right reasons, and some accountability will help you through the hardest times. Do you know deep, long lasting, eternally profitable reasons for wanting to lose weight and get fit? If not, you probably won't stick with it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We're In This Together

If you are joining me, email and let me know (brent@brentriggs.com). Tell me your name (anonymous or just first name if you want), the amount of weight you want to lose, your blog (if you want me to link to it publicly), and any comment/goals you have. I'll put the list here, and update your progress whenever you send it to me. Will you join me? We can do it together?
  • Paula, age 55 wants to lose 50 pounds.... go Paula! Don't quit!
  • How about you?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Reasons to Eat Right, Get Fit and Be Healthy:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Exercise & Fitness Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Healthy Weight Loss & Diet Tips:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Great Diet & Exercise Blogs:

Jan 18, 2010

Look Who's Home

Please pray for my friend Alicia and her daughter Avalon. Avalon is a leukemia survivor who is dealing with increased intracranial pressure again. She has recently had TWO brain surgeries and her pressures are sky high once again. Her mother hasn't updated her site yet, but you can see Avalon's beautiful face here. Thank you for praying.



Abby at the hospital, watching Winnie the Pooh. Abby's new favorite thing.

To our surprise, Abby was discharged from the hospital today. Yeah! Her white blood cells increased a little and that helped her doctor feel comfortable allowing her to healing at home. She is still coughing, snoring and having headaches BUT she is home and surrounded by people who adore her. God is good.


Abby has FOUR doctors appointments this week and is supposed to have her sleep study tomorrow. The sleep study lab will probably postponed once again since Abby is sick. I really want that one done, but I understand that it needs to be done right.

Abby looks pretty good, but her headaches are back. She is getting pretty tired of all of the medical appointments, procedures and pain.


Abby just wants to be a normal, healthy little girl. We have a really busy week and Abby doesn't have a lot of energy to begin with.


I would love to hear your ideas for fun, easy things we could do with with Abby, that don't take a lot of her energy to do. She needs to have some fun and I long to see her smile.


Thanks for continuing to pray.

Jan 17, 2010

Abby Update - Monday Morning

First, I want to thank everyone for your kind words and prayers regarding my daughter, Katie. I will always miss her. Always. When I miss her the most, I try to focus caring for her brothers and sisters in a way that would make her smile. Thank you for praying.

How is Abby doing? Hmm... it is complicated. The simple answer is she was still pretty tired most of the day and had moments were she was grumpy but there were also moments when she smiled and played. After her blood transfusion she even laughed and danced.

Abby's bone marrow is wore out and confused. We want to suppress it some because that is necessary to destroy the remaining cancer cells but if her immune system is too low Abby won't be able to fight even simple infections. We want to give every bit of chemo we can without making her so weak an infection would take her from us. We normally find that balance by adjusting her chemo dosages. Unfortunately, it looks like the medication we are giving Abby to lower her intracranial pressure is doing a number on her bone marrow too. Abby's white blood cells count is dropping fast and her red blood cells are so low she needed a blood transfusion today.

It appears that the medication is beginning to keep her pressures down but if it keeps Abby's bone marrow so weak that she can't take her chemo, we will have a big problem.

Abby's chest xray showed some slight changes in her upper airway that may be from a bacterial infection. She is now on a third IV antibiotic. I am hoping that this clears up some of Abby's breathing problems.

Abby has decided watching Pooh videos 30 times in a row will be the perfect cure for all that ails her. She has surrounded herself with all things Pooh. It would drive me absolutely batty if it didn't make her smile. Abby is spending her day watching Winnie the Pooh and I am spending my days watching Abby. It is the perfect way to spend a day if you ask me.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Abby.

Jan 16, 2010

Echos From the Past

From Michelle:

Abby had a fairly good night last night (Friday) but woke up with a fever of 104. Not good for any child but more serious for a child like Abby with a chemo weakened immune system. Thankfully Tylenol brought her temperature down to normal.

Abby is now on 2 IV antibiotics, had cultures and x-rays done. All very standard for a child with cancer. Abby was sleeping sitting up again during the day. Her ENT doctor thinks it maybe because of obstructive apnea but it will take asleep study and other tests to know for sure. Obviously it is hard for Abby to get the healing rest she needs sleeping indian style in the middle of her bed. Our sweet princess is one exhausted little girl.

I am not sure what her doctors will decide to do in the morning. If Abby's labs look good and if her temperature stays down and if her breathing looks good, we may get to go home soon, but that is a lot of ifs. On one hand, I hope she gets to go home soon but on the other hand I am still concerned and willing to stay put as long as necessary.

As I wrote the above paragraph, Abby fell asleep and is snoring and then her breathing is pausing. Abby's breathing is very hard for me to listen to. It opens a floodgate of memories. I have already lost one daughter because of problems she had with her airway. Technically she was my foster daughter. I wanted to adopt her and I loved her with all of my heart. Listening to Abby breathe "weird" for the last month has been one of the hardest things I have gone through since Abby was diagnosed. Not only does it make me concerned for Abby, it also makes me miss Katie so much it takes my breath away.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Abby and our family.

Abby Update Saturday 9am

Abby is in the hospital. Her temperature is 104°. She still having trouble breathing. Thank you for your prayers.


- Posted from my iPhone... Brent

Jan 15, 2010

Abby Update 6.15pm

Abby is being admitted to the hospital right now. We'll keep you updated. Thank you for your prayers


- Posted from my iPhone... Brent

Abby Going to Hospital

From Brent

It just hits at any moment without warning... the Doctors want to see Abby immediately.

She is having significant breathing problems again and since they just doubled her morphine, recently got chemo and raised the levels of the meds dealing with her spinal pressure... all that adds up to serious concern about the way she is breathing.

Fun... we'll keep you posted. Sigh...

Jan 14, 2010

A Common Question Answered

From Brent

Here are questions I get routinely:
  • I'm out of photo space using Blogger. How do I store my own photos?
  • How do I link to photos using Flickr?
  • How do I make my photos larger on Blogger? It keeps resizing them. I like those big photos you guys have...
  • How can I place my own photos using Blogger without using their awful photo import tool?
I answer those questions and give you a tutorial over on the MckLinky Blog:
http://www.mcklinkyblog.com/201001/question-about-blog-photos-storage-uploading-sizing/

Jan 12, 2010

Update from the Trenches

From Michelle:

No happy pictures or funny stories tonight. Just a plea for prayers for Abby. Has anything changed? No, not really. We are just tired. Tired of seeing Abby hurting and watching her deal with things that no child should ever have to. Most importantly, ABBY is tired of hurting.

She's having bad headaches again, and you can tell from this photo that it is wearing her out:



We are quickly lining up and completing tasks that were ordered by her doctor.
  • Topamax (drug for intracranial hypertension) is at its maximum recommended dose and Diamox (another drug for intracranial hypertension) was increased today.
  • She saw the Ears, Nose Throat doctor today and he wants Abby to have a sleep study. This is something I am very thankful is being done before we make any decisions about surgery.
  • Abby's sleep study will be on Thursday.
  • Abby will see the Neurologist next week.
While I am amazed at how quickly everything was arranged, I am ready for this chapter to be over.

Abby's headaches are back and she wants to get a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) tomorrow. The on-call doctor increased her pain medication and she is finally asleep. Since Abby is still tolerating the medications, her doctors want to try to "tweak" the doses, to see if they can make them work. I am fine with that IF they will get her some pain relief while they are working on it.

I am praying we can arrange second opinion very soon. Does surgery scare me? Of course it does but if the medications won't work then something has to be done.

Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and for Brent and I, for Abby's pressures to go down, the cancer cells to be destroyed and for her to have the strength to handle this fight. Please also pray that Abby would be protected from any permanent damage from the elevated pressures.

Other Update Stuff


Garrett is handling his injuries amazingly well. At seventeen, he is already mature enough to do everything the doctors, physical therapist and occupational therapist ask him to do. He is determined to work hard and do everything for himself that he can safely accomplish. He is thankful he is alive, as are we. Thank you for praying for Garrett.

While Brent would never ask for himself, I would appreciate your prayers for him. He pulled something in his back and is in a lot of pain. He doesn't complain and most of our kids don't even know he is hurt. He just keeps doing what needs to be done for his family. He is a great father and husband. I wish I could do more to make things easier for him.

Jan 11, 2010

Sami Basketball

From Brent

I just put up a post about PARENTING IN 2010 on my blog if you are brave enough to venture over and jump in. :)

http://www.brentriggsblog.com/2010/01/parenting-in-2010/

Basketball - Ethiopian Style

Sami-Hannah got to play in her first official organized basketball game yesterday. While she has the height and athleticism, she has gotten a very late start in organized sports. She is a little awkward but gives hints that she will be a real player in the future.

I look forward to working with her on agility drills and specific sports like basketball and softball.


She did much better on defense where her height
was a bonus and her lack of experience was a little less a factor.


The girls start true full court basketball here from day one as
opposed to five on each end (offense and defense).
They get a real workout.


I was across the gym taking photos. This old wooden gymn
had AWFUL AWFUL lighting. It took every trick I knew just to get
the quality you see on this post.
As you can see, Abby wasn't feeling very good.


Landis never misses a photo op. He actually
said "Dad take my picture" and posed for me.


Sami playing defense...


More defense... she is getting the hang of it pretty quickly.