We have arrived in Dallas and tomorrow it begins. Doctors appointments, x-rays, echo cardiograms, EKGs, blood work... tears. It will be a long day for Ella, and for Jon and I. Not sure I am quite ready to be back here in this place, but ready or not the time has come for Ella's next big step and I am scared yet so very proud of how brave and strong she has been. Knowing that in the past she has blown the doctors away with her progress helps me hope for the best, yet being a mom, and knowing the facts makes me still fear the worst. The plan for now is to have her third open heart surgery on Thursday, I don't know what time yet, but I know it will be God's time! She will have to be put on the ventilator, and the bypass machine, she will be in a hospital during the flu season, she will have lots of opportunities for infections... etc... any single one of these things could take her life, not to mention one small mistake from the surgeon or slip of his hand and the consequences could be fatal. Ella is full of smiles today, playful and sweet. She isn't in pain and she isn't scared of what lies ahead. I wish I could explain why I'm "allowing" the pain she will feel. I'm glad she isn't as anxious as I am. Somehow it seems cruel to smile at her one moment and then make her endure such pain the next, but it's what has to be done. I wonder if that is how God feels when he looks at us, He sees the pain we are about to endure and we have no idea it's coming and then BAM! It hits like a mighty ocean wave knocking us down and twisting us upside down. Sometimes we don't understand why, and sometimes God can't explain, but we know that we can trust Him that the pain is only temporary, and it's for our ultamite good. Sometimes when those times come it's hard to trust Him and sometimes we can get angry or our feelings get hurt thinking why did He allow "that". I only hope Ella won't be angry at me... maybe one day she will know just how very much I love her and that this hurts me so much. Please be praying for peace, strength, wisdom, comfort, and most importantly please pray that the Lord of miracles sees fit to save her life once more.