Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book in Hand!

The Mariana blog is a BOOK.  A real book that you can hold in your hands.  Imagine that!

(This is Vasi holding the book.  I tried to get a photo of Mariana reading the book, which would be awesome, but she was characteristically uncooperative.  Someday I'll post a sweet photo of Mariana reading the book.  Not today.)

Today we received our copies, and they are beautiful!  How wonderful to see the book in print, ready to order in time for Christmas!

If you'd like a copy, they're available at the Ancient Faith Publishing store. 

Thank you for all of your support and love throughout this journey.  I'm so excited to see this book in print, and I hope that someone somewhere will find it useful!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Release Date & Cover Art!

How exciting!  We finally have a release date and cover art for the book!

In God's Hands:  A mother's journey through her infant's critical illness will be released by Ancient Faith Publishing (formerly Conciliar Press) on December 16, 2013.  It should be available for pre-order before that date at

On the back page, they've placed the pre-op photo of Mariana looking as yellow as a school bus right next to an adorable photo of her as a healthy toddler...

The girls are suggesting that any copies I autograph should also be graced by Mariana's own signature (currently a wobbly M) as it's her book too.  :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Three-Year Transplant Anniversary!

Today marks three years since Mariana's liver transplant - glory be to God!

We offer prayers of thanksgiving for Mariana's good health and these three wonderful years of life, and we offer prayers for her sweet donor and the family who mourns him still.

This week, we traveled to Houston for an anniversary check-up (for the first time ever, a year passed between visits to Dr. Fishman -- wow!), and Mariana continues to do well.

There are some exciting developments in pediatric liver transplant.  An ongoing study is seeing good results weaning kids off of anti-rejection medication.  They're finding that many people who receive transplants very young (and our Mariana is among the very youngest) may not require these medications to prevent rejection.  This is wonderful news, as the medications suppress the immune system, putting patients at risk for various cancers and other ailments, and risk causing kidney problems.  Two years ago, there was talk of weaning Mariana when she reached adolescence; now they're talking about beginning next year.  Weaning is no small thing, and becoming a part of this exciting study means taking three liver biopsies and biweekly blood draws, but escaping the risks of this medication would be well worth the pain and effort.

We have news on the book front as well -- the official title is, In God's Hands.  I love it, because we are always in God's hands, but we are most aware of it during difficult times.  A child's illness in particular reveals that the control and power we think we exert in this world is all illusion; we confront our own weakness, our powerlessness, and we turn to the only One Who can help.

Lord of the powers, be with us!  For in times of distress, we have no other help but You!

We are always in God's hands, and I hope we will grow to trust Him to lovingly care for all of us.

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Release Date

Conciliar Press has slated the release of the book for December of 2013.  (Maybe it will make a great Christmas gift???)  God willing, this book will be useful to people who are struggling.

As I was compiling and reworking the blog posts into a book, I used the title, Mariana's Mom.  In the hospital, that was my name (it seems that  it's too much for doctors and nurses to learn the names of family members, and that's ok -- it's good that they focus on the patient!).  It felt particularly appropriate because that's how I'm addressed around the schools too.  You Moms know what I mean -- to my girls' classmates, I'm "Andja's Mom", "Vasi's Mom",  "Helena's Mom" and "Stefi's Mom".  When we lost our Luka, I was sorry to have missed out on being "Luka's Mom", and when Mariana was dying in the hospital, I was grateful to have the chance to be "Mariana's Mom".

With each child, we learn special lessons, unique to the particular child's needs and interests.  Each of our children challenges us in a new way, and in the process of mothering them we must master new subjects and skills.  Mariana's Mom learned all about livers and transplants and patience and peace.

That said, Mariana's Mom will not be the title of this book.

I'm really looking forward to hearing the titles that Conciliar's excellent team will suggest for this book.  God willing, the title will invite readers inside, promising them the very things they'll uncover in the text.  I'm also eager to see the artwork they develop for the cover.  Many of the most beautiful books on my shelf come from Conciliar, so I trust that it will be excellent.

I submitted my manuscript to Conciliar because they have published most of my favorite contemporary Orthodox authors, and I am excited to have my name on one of their excellent books.  Their website is; you can see from a quick glance at their offerings why I'm so happy to be counted among their writers.

The process of publishing this book lead me to Ancient Faith Radio and to create my Raising Saints podcast there, and now I'm working on a book that will focus, like the podcast, on the education of our young people in the Faith.

Mariana and her sisters are doing well, thank God, and thanks to your prayers.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mariana 2013

Glory be to God!

Mariana's good health has continued into 2013, and we are thanking God and kissing the big, beautiful scar on her belly which reminds us that Mariana's life and all of our lives are especially precious gifts from God.  

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and love!

We have so appreciated your concern and your prayers throughout our experiences with Mariana and her liver transplant.  

This blog has been collected up and cleaned up; I've edited it, taking out some boring parts and putting in some of the things I couldn't tell you while they were happening, for fear of scaring the siblings and the grandparents beyond what was necessary.  Now that the work is complete, Conciliar Press will be releasing it in book form soon.  We hope that our meditations in those dark days might benefit other families in similar struggles.

I'll post a release date when we have one, and more details as they come.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and support.  Even today we can feel them.