Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our/My (mostly mine) Journey to Transplant--- Wendy and Kim

This is my memory of my friendship with my friend Kim Mooney Canup who I am donating my kidney to. To our friends, some of this will bring back your own memories. I am so blessed to have these lifelong friends. To friends that I know more recently, this might help you to understand why I would do this for someone I love very dearly. This is our story as I remember it.....

It all started about 25 years ago when I was a teenager. I believe I was entering high school, but maybe....I was in middle school. I don't recall exactly. I met a family that rode my bus from Bethlehem Elementary to the middle and high schools every day. The Mooney's lived about 3 miles from my house, but we didn't really see each other except on the bus every day. There were 3 kids in their family at the time....Michelle, Kim, and Michael. It wasn't until late high school (11th grade for me) that I started "hanging out" with them. Michelle and I worked at WalMart together and Kim and I ran in the same circle of friends. Boy.... did we have a great set of friends that loved hanging out together! We even still have those same friends to this day! We had every weekend filled with going to Holly Hanson's lake house, cruising Holly Hill Mall (about 60 laps a day!), thrill hill, and numerous other adventures. We just generally had a good time. 
It was the the day of my 16th birthday and I could finally go on a real date! Michelle Mooney called me up one day just before my birthday and asked me if I wanted to go on a double date with her and Kevin. I was to go out with another friend of ours, Jeff Meck. Jeff lived across the street from me and I knew him fairly well, but we were just friends. Fast forward a few months and Kevin and Michelle had broken up, but Michelle was expecting a baby with Kevin. Kevin and I had been "dating" one week when she told us she was almost 5 months pregnant. Despite it being a difficult time for all of us (our friends were torn between Michelle and us b/c of the pregnancy), we remained friends with both she and Kim. Lyndsey was born 9/12/91. Kim and Michelle lived in an apartment together at the time of her birth and shortly after she was born Michelle started dating and ended up marrying Jonathan Stowe. It was very difficult for a little while, but we developed a great co-parenting bond with them both that stood the test of time. Kevin and I started getting Lyndsey every other weekend and we spent many birthdays and holidays together with the Mooney's. We even spent a few nights at Kim and Michelle's apartment so we literally were one big happy family! We all tried getting along for Lyndsey's sake and we grew even tighter with the Mooney's. 
Several years after we graduated, Roho Mooney got sick with polycystic kidney disease. This is an inherited disease and can be life threatening. It indeed did take his life after he was sick for a long while. Kim found out she was also positive with PKD when she was 15 years old (although I just found that out recently). Michael also has it, but Michelle and their younger brother do not. Kim has always just been in my life and we have always thought of each other as family. We knew after her daddy passed away with this disease and her paternal aunt/paternal cousin also had it, that there might come a time where one or all of them would have to go on dialysis and need a transplant. Kim's aunt has already received a cadiver kidney (6 years ago and she's doing great). Her brother and cousin so far aren't on dialysis and from I understand are pretty healthy for now. 
Kim went on dialysis about a year ago and was just approved to be placed on the transplant list. As soon as she told us she was on the list, I asked how I could sign up. Kim knew I wasn't kidding when I told her this. This is something I have always known I would do should she ever need a kidney.  

I'm sure you are probably thinking "WHY"?

Why would I do this?

I really did ask myself why someone would NOT do this? I know what you're thinking....SURE....but Kim's not even related to you and you are right, but I have been taught that if I have something that someone else needs and I can provide it.....WHY NOT?

Don't get me wrong, I've literally thought long and hard about when it REALLY came down to it, would I do it? For years....the answer has always been YES!!! So, when she was placed on the list...I called the following day and asked how I could be checked to see if I was a match. 

Emory took my information over the phone and said a transplant nurse would be calling me back to set up a telephone interview for the pre-screening. It took them a long time to finally call me but when they did, I passed my pre-screening with flying colors. My transplant nurse said my next step would be to have bloodwork done to see if we were a match. I was told that test could take 3-5 weeks to result. I was flying to Haiti about a month after I did my labs so we were trying to expedite my approval b/c Ebola was in the news a lot at the time and international travel was worrisome to them. One day 18, Nov. 21, 2014 nurse Katie called me at work to say I was a perfect match for Kim to have direct donation through me! It was the day before I was to leave for Haiti and exactly 6 days before Thanksgiving. I couldn't believe not only was I a match, but I was a PERFECT MATCH! Actually, yes I could believe I was a match b/c Kim and I had been talking about this for years and we had faith that I would be HER match. I was at work when I got the news so it was all I could do to hold in my excitement. I was squealing and jumping up and down!! I started trying to dial Kim's number through the tears running down my face. Kim answered on the second ring and I said, "Kim, I'm a perfect match for you"! I'll never forget what she said, " I KNEW it....Thank you Jesus". 
We both cried and were squealing with excitement. I quickly ran down exactly what the nurse had told me and how it was supposed to go from here. I told Kim I loved her very much and hung up so she could call her family and I could call mine. We posted the news on Facebook right away so everyone could share in our good news and we asked everyone to please thank God for this tremendous blessing!
Somehow, the rest of the day I was supposed to work the rest of the day, but my emotions were trying to get the best of me. My first patient after I talked to Kim was a child that needed his blood drawn for a CBC. My hands were shaking really bad. Thankfully, this family knew me fairly well so when I gloved up in the room the father asked me what was wrong b/c I had a red face from crying and my hands were trembling. I thought he might ask me to go get someone else to stick his kid, but he didn't. I told him the news I had just gotten and he started saying, "hold up a minute". He took off his jacket, then his shirt, and shows me his 10 inch scar from where he had donated his kidney to his mom 23 years prior!
Did you see that?     23 years ago?    23 years ago my stepdaughter was born and The Mooney's became my family through the birth of my stepdaughter! It felt like God had brought me full circle and He was confirming to me that He had been in this all those years ago! WOW!!

My phone was blowing up with messages and texts from hundreds of mine and Kim's friends congratulating us. Kim and I agreed to go out to dinner that evening to celebrate. I asked Kim to get to the restaurant a few minutes early so I could share with her what was on my heart. When we saw each other, we hugged and cried for a long time. I took Kim's hand and looked her straight in the eyes so she would truly understand what I wanted to share with her. I told her how I had not come to this decision without having put a lot of thought into it. I told her how much I loved her and how I had always considered her my family and always would, but that I didn't want her to treat me any differently than she did now. I don't want her to be indebted to me for the rest of her life, say thanks, and move on. I'm nobody special. I just have a great big heard and love using it to serve God. Kim agreed that she would do her best not to change the way she treated me, but that she could never thank me enough. 
I still have to get approved for the actual surgery. Labs, tests, x-rays, CT scans, and multiple doctor appts but I am ready to jump through each one. Thanksgiving this year meant a little more to me....I am thankful for my family, my friends, good health, and most of all, that I get to be a blessing to someone else. Kim deserves this and I can't wait!!

Love you Mooney! Always!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Speak Life

Men and women vary in the amount of words that use per day. Women use on average 20,000 words per day and men use about 7000 words per day.
Regardless if you are male or female, you have the power to use words that God would use- to SPEAK LIFE!
The Bible says the tongue is a powerful weapon. You have the power of life and death using ONLY your words. It is hard to think about your words causing death. Your words can ruin a friendship, start a fight, end your career or start a war.
Words cause death, hurt, and pain! Ex: Adolf Hitler
Words give life! Ex: Winston Churchhill
Do you know of a time when you caused harm with your words?
You probably still remember them. Luke 6:45 The mouth speaks what the heart is about!
If you are a critical heart, you will speak criticalness. If you have a grateful heart, you will speak thankfulness.
Remember a time where someone spoke good things about you? I bet you remember those words too. You have the power of encouragement. Has someone spoke words of encouragement in your life?
What will come out of your mouth today? Will you be a person that is speaking life into other people? Will you help build people up? Hebrews
If you say something nice about me, I MIGHT remember you.... but if you encourage me, I WILL never forget it!! Be that encourager today!! Speak LIFE!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


I got to know this beautiful girl about a year ago. She had been attending our youth group for quite some time, but she became best friends with my niece last year. I didn't know much about her except that she seemed to be a good role model and represented our teenagers well within the youth group. She and my niece went on a weekend youth retreat and became fast friends.
Around about October, she posted on FB that she was having some family troubles and needed a place to stay. Kevin and I talked about it and since we had an extra empty bedroom and full bath, agreed to offer her to come here. I didn't know her much at all, but after praying about it, felt that God was saying we should. She moved in the following day and we didn't see much of her. She was a senior in high school and worked full time. We didn't even really have any rules, except some common courtsey kind of things, be respectful of our family, get along with our 13-yr-old daughter, and the normal "teen" things, like no boys allowed and come in at a decent hour. After all, she was 18 and a senior already. Thankfully, she was and is a great girl!
About a month after she moved in, she was in a pageant. She invited us to come and got a us a front row seat to the show. I felt like a proud "mom" and cheered her on. When asked during the interview portion of the pageant who she looked up to, I beamed with pride when she said our youth minister. She was gorgeous on stage and she won the interview portion- 1st. place!!
Around about January, I asked her to go along on our mission trip to Haiti. She had been telling me that she wanted to going into youth ministry and I thought it would be good for her to go "see the world". She agreed to go and was really excited about it. I had a rather large team going (15 people in all) so I assigned her to do music for our nightly devotion and for our daily bible school with the orphanage kids. She and my niece both have been studying guitar and both sing in our praise band on Sunday mornings so they happily agreed. They worked really hard at preparing music, songs, practicing, and playing guitar for our upcoming trip. And, they did a fabulous job! Every day, they were teaching the kids some new songs and were overjoyed when the kids already knew some of the songs that they had prepared for.
Stephanie hadn't really felt "connected" with my family prior to us leaving. We get along great, she is an awesome role model to my very impressionable teenage daughter, and she is always respectful, but she was distant. She didn't share much with my husband and I although we tried everything to help her find her place in our home. I told her repeatedly that she is just like my daughter and she has the same status in this family as my two birth daughters do, but she just wasn't as connected with us. Everything changed in Haiti! She fell in love with the Haitian children and I believe got to see Kevin and I in a very different light while we were there. She also found her "place" in not only our home, but in her calling on her life (I think anyway). She discovered that she really does want to be in youth ministry (possibly on the foreign mission field) and she has been a different girl since we returned home. I can see her setting some new goals for herself and discovering God on a more intimate level.
She is graduating high school in 2 weeks! I am very proud of her and I just wanted her to know that from day 1, we have loved her as our daughter and we will continue to support her in whatever she decides to do. I am happy that she joined our family back in October, but even happier that she knows now that she "REALLY" joined our family. On May 15th, Stephanie- Kevin, Victoria, and I will be cheering you on and we can't wait to see where God leads you. I am so proud of you!
Mama Wendy

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Planning for this trip started in January. Little did I know that I could be capable of leading a team to Haiti! Looking back now I can see that God started preparing my heart to do this a couple of years ago. That was about the same time I started praying about my distant friend Perez going with me.

My first trip to Haiti, I was scared out of my mind. I had never been on a mission trip before and I surely had never been to a third world country.
That very first trip, I fell in love. The day we left, it felt like I had left a piece of my heart in Haiti. The connections we made were unbelievable! Our team grew so close together and we had formed a very unique bond.
Fast forward three years...... I barely knew most of the people going on this trip. All but four of us had never been to Haiti before. It was exciting to experience all the "firsts" with them. Several people on the team kept thanking me for this opportunity, but it wasn't me at ALL. I just agreed to lead the team so that's what I did. Now let me tell you some of the God-stories that had formed these team members together.

PEREZ, aka "Big Papa P", WATSON

I met a man named Perez several years ago. Perez and I grew up in the same small town and he ended up being a teacher at my daughter's middle school. I had seen him around at the school last year. He was always outside in the mornings for car riders, always with a big smile on his face and waving to every car that passed. He was also a mentor of some sort at our local YMCA and I was friends with him on Facebook.
One day somewhere along the way, I heard him say, "you go to Haiti on missions trips. I want to do that sometime". I said okay but didn't really put a lot of thought into it. Then in January I posted on FB that I was planning a trip for April. He contacted me and said that he was interested. I again said "okay", but again didn't put a lot more thought into it.
I had an informational meeting at my house one Sunday afternoon and he said he would come. He didn't so I thought he wasn't really serious. Then, about a week later, he contacted me again to say, "don't forget about me". I had! We made plans to meet us at Zaxby's one day for lunch and I told him all about the trip.
I knew Perez was a minister and in my head, I had known him as a "big teddy bear". He was a gentle giant in my mind. I was ecstatic that he was interested in going on this trip. I had secretly been praying for him to go all along. I knew I needed someone like him on my team and I also knew how much he loved kids and that they would love him! He would fit in with them so well.
See...... here's the thing! I knew from his ministry that he loved children. He had "adopted" a premature baby from a woman he didn't even know. He was a middle school teacher and a mentor at the Boys and Girls Club. What was amazing was that he wasn't working! He had the time to go but he wasn't sure how he could raise the funds needed to go. He told me this on a couple of occasions. I always responded that if God had him on this trip, the funds would come! I already knew he WAS supposed to be on this trip because I had been talking to God about it for a long time. We talked about a few ways to raise the money. A week or so later, he texts me that he had mentioned his desire to go on the trip to his church. Several people said that they would help him, but nobody did at first. The cost of the trip was $1075! The next week someone gave him $500! Then the next week a family member gave him $1000! Just like that he had more than enough!

THAT'S WHAT GOD DOES FOR HIS CHILDREN! He says in his Word, "Go into all the world proclaiming the gospel". Perez was willing to go and God provided the money for him to preach that message to more than 100 kids in an orphanage in a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY!

God provided many opportunities for us to share about him on this trip. Perez led bible study to about 40 teenagers on Wednesday night! He rocked, held, and fed several babies. He prayed with a young teenage boy in the community. He even stopped to shovel gravel into a wheelbarrow. That's a good story..... A couple of us were walking along the road from the orphanage back to the team house one very hot afternoon and we came upon 2 young kids shoveling gravel into a wheelbarrow while their father watched. These kids were maybe 6-8 years old. Two of them. Without saying a word, Perez stops, takes their shovel and starts filling up their wheelbarrow. They just smiled ear to ear watching him, probably thinking who is this guy! Haha! He filled the wheelbarrow, told them goodbye and walked away! It was one of the single most memorable acts of service I've ever witnessed. SERIOUSLY! 

I love how God puts two extremely different people (a 100-lb. very white woman and a big black man) together like Perez and myself to preach the gospel in Haiti! Perez fell in love with the Haitian people.  I knew God was using him in a mighty way and I am honored that I got to witness it. I can't wait to see what God has in store for him next!!
I love you Perez and so glad that you are my new family member.

"Go into all the world proclaiming the gospel"

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I've not written a blog post in almost a month! I claimed I was doing great and getting my thoughts written down, but then I realized the last post was Jan. 25th. Time sure does fly!

Big time plans are coming to fruition. Last post, I wrote about what your calling is. Mostly, what I believe my calling is and how that calling came to be.

I have so many thoughts swirling in my head that it's hard for me to form them into a blog post. I absolutely love writing and this blog is selfishly for me and later on, my child. I want my daughter to be able to go back long after I am gone and see the words on paper. 

Most of my readers, friends, and family know that I am leading a team of 17 to Haiti in 49 days. I can hardly believe it myself. I never in a million years thought that God would call me to serve in a third world country such as Haiti and definitely never imagined leading a team on my own there. 

Lil 'ol me!!

BUT, I serve a Big God who has Big Plans for me. All 100 lbs. of me and 16 others will travel to Despinos, Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti on April 12th. This will be my 7th. trip and besides my own family and one other college aged girl a first trip for everyone else.  I love taking a new group of people to the country I love. 
On my first trip to Haiti, I almost reluctantly agreed to go. I knew that God had called me to do a mission trip, but truly thought I would hate it. I. REALLY. DID! I had full intentions of going and serving my 10 days there and coming home to never return. Little did I know I would fall in love with some big brown eyed, dark skinned children. Not only the children, but adults too. I got on the plane crying like a baby. Missing them and I hadn't even left Port-au-Prince yet, yearning to schedule my next trip, and planning to take my own blonde-haired, blue eyed girl back with me. I had no clue, I'd be returning less than 6 months later, 5 months after that, and again and again! Praise God! 

I say this b/c taking a whole new group of people to the country I love is exciting. It is amazing to see the wonder and awe (and shocking!) view from their eyes. I want everyone to experience the love that these kids have. I want them to feel the same passion I feel for them. The more people that know about our ministry the better we can help them. Our kids already have Jesus, they need our affection, spiritual growth, physical growth, and knowledge that the God of the universe that loves me, loves them too! 

Big plans are coming! In just a few short weeks, I could amaze you at the miracles God has been performing just to make this trip happen. Donations are pouring in, food, money, clothes, etc. It's not just my story, but the story of 17 people whose lives are about to be changed and I believe for the better. I can't wait to see it unfold. Stay tuned and I'll share the testimonies of these missionaries!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


What's your calling?

Do you know?

I believe our mission in life is to find out our calling as soon as possible and get to work on that calling!

Sorry to say that it took me well into my 30's to find my calling. I have known since 9 years old that I would be a nurse. I am a planner and have literally had my entire life planned out since I was very young. I knew I would marry and have only one child. Don't know why I never wanted more children, but my husband and I had a ready made family when we finally married after 7 years of dating. He had a daughter in high school and if I'm being honest.... I loved being a mom at an early age. It was just something that came natural to me. I was very responsible and while I was in nursing school, I was paying all the bills at my house (mom was basically living with me) and helping to raise a child on the weekends with my then boyfriend. We've been together since she was 5 months in utero. I've always had a mostly great relationship with her mom. Gratefully!

When I graduated nursing school I wanted to go on a medical mission trip, but didn't know how or when I could make that happen. I was already raising a family! 
Then, I went to Haiti in May 2011. Just before I left, I had been caring for my mom, along with my sister. I was her power of attorney and had all the medical responsibilities and her financial responsibilities. However, mom got very sick and died that year on March 1st. I was 36! I spent the next two months wallering in sadness. I have never been one that was what some called "depressed", but I was deeply sad. Mom was my best friend. She was the one person I could tell literally everything to. 
When I got to Haiti in May, I met an 18-year-old girl named Woodland. Maybe I've written about her before. Woodland couldn't speak a lick of English except to say hello and I love you. She could also sing every word to "Blessed Be Your Name". Melissa, our American missionary had taught her this song and she had a beautiful voice. One Sunday, I found her sobbing! Turns out she was crying b/c it was Mother's Day in Haiti and she was sad b/c her mother had passed away. Her father had too. She was only 18!! Here I was feeling so alone b/c my mom had died at age 36. 
God spoke to me that day! He called me to help the orphans of Haiti! I felt the tug on my heart to do whatever I could to make this my calling. I never wanted to live there or adopt, but I was called to serve Him there. I have given up my vacation time (2 weeks) since to spend it in Haiti. Thankfully, my family also feels called to serve there.

I have a young friend, Amelia, that is 19 years old and in college. I'm 20 years older than her, but she is like my daughter, friend, and mentee wrapped in one. She is a great girl and also has a heart for Haiti. She's been with me several times and last year we were able to spend the entire week of Christmas in Haiti. Amelia has found her calling at such a young age. She is planning to spend an entire month in Haiti this summer. She doesn't really know how God is going to use her there or even what her future plans are for her ministry, but I am so thankful that she has obeyed the call on her life.  Wish I had known earlier what my calling was, but I know God reveals everything to us in His time. 

What's your calling? Do you know what your mission is in life? It doesn't really matter if God calls you to serve locally, internationally, in your church, or even in your own home! Every Christian's mission is to spread the gospel and take as many people to Heaven with us that we possibly can. If you don't know your calling yet, ask God to reveal it to you!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero.
I am strong and wise and I know no fear.
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes, everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
gives me strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe in my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

I love having a "mini me". Everyone tells me that Tori-bug looks just like me. But, you know what? She acts like me too. Sometimes I think that is a good thing. I like to think that I am always setting a good example for her, but I know that isn't true. She is the one that teaches me. She has taught me so much about how to love and she never sees color or disability. When she was young, I worked at a nursing home on Saturdays. I would have her daddy bring her to see me and sometimes they would bring me lunch. The elderly can be very scary to a small child, especially the ones in a nursing home. They sometimes scream, shake, drool, or would try to reach out to her. She was never afraid of them and I think that helped her when she got into school to always include everyone. I love her heart. When I took her to Haiti for the first time she was 11-years-old. She jumped right in and loved on those orphans like it was her job. She never said a word that they were dirty, didn't have shoes on their feet, or invaded her personal space. They were her friends from the moment she met them. I am so proud to be her mom and I hope one day when you want to know me..... all you have to do is look in my daughter's eyes!!