Thursday, June 28, 2007

what gives, joe?

Okay, sorry I left you hanging with my last post about the incredible thing Ira did the other day. It's just that I haven't quite gotten over the whole NICU jinx thing. I thought about describing what went down and what amazing achievement Ira accomplished but instead I'll show you. Check it out:

I'll give you more details on this later but for now know that we only take him off the vent for a few minutes a day. (We're kinda doing it on our own so, shhh!, don't tell the docs.)

Friends, to say that this is a big honkin' deal is an understatement. Ira off the vent? C'mon! That's huge! You celebrated with us when Ira came home from the NICU. You celebrated with us when he came home from the PICU. You celebrated with us when he took his first steps. Please, celebrate with us again as we begin this process of weaning him from the vent. We're so excited!

We leave out on Monday for the big road trip and we have a busy weekend ahead so this will be my last post for a while. I might post from the road but no guarantees.

peace, The Hays Fam


Monday, June 25, 2007

couple of things

I'm going to sit down and make the playlists the latter part of this week. Your many responses are appreciated and thanks to my super cool brother-in-law I now have a little iTunes money to spend. Yippee! I'll let you know how those playlists turn out.
On another note, Hilary led our church in communion this past Sunday. Her meditation was moving. With her permission, I'm linking to her blog in which she posted her thoughts. It's worth your time to check out what she had to say. Check it here.
On a whim, Laura tried something with Ira today. I'm not quite ready to tell you what that something is but let me just say, it was huge and it was a raging success. I know, I know. It's not very nice of me to leave you hanging like this but you'll have to trust me. It's worth waiting to hear what Ira did today. In due time, I'll let you in on it.
I wrapped up a pre-marital counseling gig with a couple tonight. They asked if Laura could be in on the last session so we made it happen. They asked us, What are dumb things you've done in your marriage? What are smart things you've done in your marriage?

I didn't necessarily answer their questions in this way but here's what I've got to say now that I've had time to think:

DUMB: Didn't seek help soon enough when crisis was right around the corner.
SMART: Sought help immediately following crisis which helped us make sense of our conversation regarding the crisis.

DUMB: Bought a car impulsively.
SMART: Will be debt free in 18 months! Bye-bye, student loans!

DUMB: Went a couple of years while in grad school without a community of faith.
SMART: Haven't been without since.

DUMB: Starting sentences with, "I want," or "I need..."
SMART: Starting sentences with, "How can I help you?" or "What can I do for you?"

DUMB: assume
SMART: ask

There's more. Much more. But this is where I would start. What about you? What are dumb things you've done in your marriage? What are smart things you've done in your marriage?


a better idea

It was Sunday night. It wasn't quite time for the kids to go to bed. They were driving Laura and me nuts. Nuts I'm telling you. Nuts.

Laura: We need another Jamaica vacation from these kids!
Joe: I've got a better idea. A week from now, why don't we pack them up in the car and spend countless amount of hours with them!

Laura's nonverbals spoke volumes at that moment. My joke was not appreciated.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

the playlists

Okay friends, Laura and I have looked over the suggested ideas for roadtrip playlists and we're pretty excited. We're kinda limited because we're gonna have to work with our music library (hey, those 99 cents songs start to add up) but I'm thinking we can make it happen.

The three I started with are:

1) Gettin' Out of the City playlist - songs that are rebellious, fun, fast, and with a "see ya later" kind of theme

2) Dancin' in Our Seats playlist - this is when we're all irritable and could use a fun pick-me-up; I'm thinking cheesy DJ kind of dancing music

3) Chill playlist - the road is long, the conversation is dry and we're in a contemplative mood (I think this goes along with the I Can See for Miles and Miles playlist)

The others we thought were groovy and that we want to try and work with are:

4) Life is a Highway playlist - good road songs with a traveling theme

5) God Bless Texas (and only Texas) playlist - songs that will usher us into Texas; songs like "That's Right You're Not From Texas" by Lyle Lovett and dedicated to my Missouri wife :)

6) Covers playlist - Kes recommended this and it sounds hip; we definitely need help on this one as it has the potential to be great!

7) Back to NY playlist - this would include songs like Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" and would be played as we near New York City

8) Finally, the Official Blog Playlist - choose a song, any song that you love and think we would get a kick out of listening to; there is no theme to this playlist

Again, we're slightly limited due to our library but this should be fun. If you have that perfect song for one of the specific playlists mentioned above, leave a comment indicating which playlist to which you are referring. And EVERYONE has to chip in on number eight! Good hunting!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

timing is everything

I love your ideas for roadtrip playlists. I'll post tomorrow what Laura and I think fits us and then you guys can help me work out what songs need to be included on those playlists. Cool, daddy?


Every morning Laura and I go through the same routine with Ira. We disinfect the sink area and kitchen table. We wash him in the sink being careful to make sure water doesn't go down his trach, etc. We then take him over to our kitchen table where he's surrounded by medical equipment such as sterile gauze pads, sterile water, trach ties, etc. Once Ira is situated and his new diaper is put on, we go to work cleaning his neck, changing his trach tie and putting cream and new pads around his g-tube site. Every morning we do this.

Once about every two weeks, there is a minor crisis during this process and Laura and I immediately jump into crisis mode. Sophia does one of two things: She either acts out hoping to get our attention in the midst of the crisis with Ira or she immediately pops her thumb into her mouth and stares off into space. To say the least, these minor (I call them "minor" because they don't ultimately end up in us calling 911) crises are stressful. And because it happens in the morning, it has the potential to affect one's entire day.

Today we had a crisis episode with Ira. As I left the house for work Laura already looked whipped. My bike ride was slower this morning and as I got into the office and sat down I realized that my shoulders felt heavy. And then I checked an e-mail account that rarely gets personal e-mail. I found a note from a man who's done some work with my father out in west Texas. The man said he's been following our story via my dad and that he's been praying for us. He said he specifically has prayed for Laura and me - for courage and strength.

I'm not sure what it was about this e-mail but as I read it, I broke down. Here in this e-mail was yet another total stranger expressing hope for our family. I needed that today. His timing (the man's? God's?) was perfect.


Monday, June 18, 2007

roadtrip playlists

Have you heard that my fam is going on a roadtrip? Kidding. To say the least, we're pretty excited about getting away for a couple of weeks. Don't let New Yorkers fool you. In spite of their avid pride for their city, all city dwellers long to escape every now and then. We're at fourteen days and counting before we head out!

Our prep for this trip started long ago. We've been in contact with doctors asking "What if?" kind of questions. We've notified our home healthcare provider to get other information from them about other providers in other cities. We're having a nurse fly to meet us on a leg of our trip to alleviate a little of the stress that is taking care of Ira. Our car is being serviced as I type. A friend from high school who works for a major hotel chain has hooked us up with hotel rooms as we travel. Much has been done and there is much more to do. Wanna help?

See, I need to make some playlists for our trip. The first thing you can help me with is thinking about what kind of playlists we'll need for this trip. As I narrow those playlists down to a manageable number, I'll then ask you to help me choose songs for those playlists. But first things first, we need to decide what playlists are needed. This is what I've come up with thus far:

1) Getting Out of the City playlist - something fun, rockin', sing along to, a bit rebellious because, after all, it is a bit rebellious that we're loading Ira up and leaving the comfort of NYC

2) Dancin' In Our Seats playlist - this playlist will be when we all need a little pick-me-up

3) Chill playlist - this is when the road is long, all conversations have been exhausted and everyone (okay, Laura and me) are in a contemplative mood

What other playlists do we need to round off this trip? Remember, don't think songs here but think playlists. We'll fill in the songs later. Laura and I will look over the comments and see what fits our family and go from there. C'mon, don't you wanna help the Hayses make this roadtrip a blast?! ...or at least bearable? :)


Wednesday, June 13, 2007


My sister gave me a subscription to a magazine called The Sun. The mag is an "ad-free, monthly magazine that publishes an eclectic mix of personal essays, fiction, interviews, poetry and photographs." When I get an issue in the mail, I can't put it down.

The current issue has an interview with a Benedictine nun (or Sister) named Joan Chittister. Sister Chittister's been a nun for fifty-five years and is widely known as "one of the most outspoken and articulate social critics and religious leaders of our time." The interview is titled, "Be Not Silent: Sister Joan Chittister Speaks Out On War, Feminism, And The Catholic Church." Her thoughts on the war? Boo! On Feminism? Yippee! On the Catholic Church? {sigh}

Here's a taste of the interview:

Question: You're engaged in political affairs, but you're also a religious person. Do you feel more politically engaged than religiously engaged? Or is this a false dichotomy?

Chittister: I wouldn't be involving myself with social questions if I weren't a Benedictine Sister. I am not a politician. Nor was Jesus. But he kept pointing out how the system failed the people it purported to serve. Benedictines read from the Scriptures three times a day, every day. We start on page one of Genesis and continue on, reading a little at a time, until we reach the last page of Revelations. Then we start all over again. I would not be doing what I'm doing now if I were not hearing the psalmists and the prophets dealing with much the same problems in their time, and if I did not have the story of Jesus walking from Galilee to Jerusalem, picking people up out of the dust, raising people from the dead, curing lepers, and giving sight to the blind.


marathon man

Our family attended a race car themed birthday party this past weekend in Central Park. It was the birthday of a friend of ours, Levi. His dad, Jason, put together a video of the event. I'm pointing you in that direction for selfish reasons: About two minutes into the video, you'll witness Ira's first race. It takes a while for him to run (walk) it but the cameraman was determined to stay with Ira. (I just want to note that Ira was the only kid to actually run the course correctly!) For Ira, this was his marathon and he did wonderfully.

Hint: Hang around long enough in the video and you'll get to see me racing my daughter. I smoked her!

Check out the video here.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

more from Jamaica

from Laura's pen

What is it about this island that allows me to feel closer to you? Is it the quiet? The fact that I can't hear traffic all around? That the sounds of birds calling and crickets chirping have replaced the honking and cursing of Brooklyn? Maybe. Or maybe it's the fact that our villa is on somewhat of a mountain and I feel as though I could reach up and almost touch the clouds. The expanse of ocean and sky is a constant reminder of how majestic and artistic you are. Or maybe it's that I have no responsibilities for my children and am trying so hard to entrust their care and needs to you. Probably it's a little bit of all of these combined that's allowing me to feel free to speak to you more and desire walking in your presence. I think about the last time Joe and I got away. It was two years ago before Ira was born. What will the next two years bring? I have absolutely no idea. God, my one request is that you walk with Joe and me into the future.


Friday, June 08, 2007


So what do we do at the end of a long day? We hang out on the stoop. Spring in New York City is absolutely the best.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Remember my post on roadtrips? To kick off the summer, This American Life did a show called Roadtrip! It's definitely worth your listen.


I've been gone a couple of Sundays over the past few weeks. In my absence, more than qualified folks have stepped in for me on Sundays to teach and preach. This past week, JTB preached on Trinity Sunday. Check her sermon out here. And, go take a look at what Casey said over at her blog concerning her experience at Christ's Church for Brooklyn. I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by such strong people of faith.


Did you happen to catch Obama, Clinton and Edwards on CNN last night? Me neither as I don't have cable but I did catch bits of it via youtube. hosted the event in which they invited these three presidential candidates to speak about faith, values and poverty. Here's a sample:


Monday, June 04, 2007

sorry CCfB

Laura and I are contemplating a new gig - wedding officiants in Jamaica. Laura's version of this song was a raging success and everyone was impressed that I could swing a 20 minute wedding. We were told, "Hey, you guys could make a killing here!" The Jamaican minister who was on hand to make the marriage official said he does multiple weddings every weekend of the year. So, I'm thinking Christ's Church for Jamaica has a nice ring to it, no?


Sunday, June 03, 2007

what's important

I'm sitting in the Montego Bay airport. We've been delayed. We'll land at JKF by 2 a.m. Monday morning. Ugh. But we've decided that this situation will not overshadow the good times had in Jamaica. The resort was incredible, the people friendly and the wedding wonderful. I would write about what we did but we did absolutely nothing. So there's nothing to write. We rested and it was glorious.

Now to completely change the subject...


I don't care to converse with you concerning the right way to worship. Who gives a flying flip about whether or not a church uses instruments while worshiping? Who cares if it's a woman or a man proclaiming God's good news? So what if the kids aren't sitting still but instead are dancing in the pews and down the aisles? And what of that old man right there in the middle of the sanctuary lifting his hands? Finally, I seriously don't want to hear you explain to me The Correct Way of being saved.

I understand that for some these conversations are needed to move forward at all and I'm thankful that there are those patient enough to hang around and have these conversations but I just can't do it. I sat for too long at the side of my son's bed in the hospital wondering if he would be able to take his next breath. I heard far too many mothers and fathers wailing as their sons and daughters took in their last gasps of air. I had one too many nurses tell me tragic stories. I spent one too many nights in intensive care units.

So what is important, you ask? Love. A kind of love that is acted out in service that results in justice. For me, Jesus was the embodiment of that kind of love. All these other matters we concern ourselves with are just not important.