Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Dispersed Family.

How I miss my family being together, especially this time of year.  

Sarah remains with Michael at Children's Hospital as we wait for him to make necessary weight gains before we can dream of him being discharged.  He's only consuming about half of the ounces the doctors would like him to be consuming daily.  This morning the Feeding Team came in while Sarah was giving Michael his bottle and stayed with them for almost an hour, working with Michael to try every possible approach to get him to eat, but to no avail.  As discouraging as this sounds, it's encouraging to have a medical team witness his difficulty as opposed it just being hearsay.

We are praying for healing.  We pray that his aorta would not be pressed again his trachea and he would be able to breathe without the need for another major open chest surgery.  We are praying that his ears would be opened.  We are praying for a voracious appetite.  I have no problem with Doctors receiving glory due their works, but I would rather see God receive all of it. 

I am at home with my older two boys, Daniel having scored a fever of 102 last night, he is staying away from his baby brother and resting.  I'm leading worship tomorrow and Christmas Eve and therefore am so grateful for the help we have received from our church family as we navigate this difficult season.  Providing meals and watching my boys.  

This is certainly a different Christmas than we had anticipated, but we count our blessings. 

The Shust family appreciates your prayers.  For Michael's healing, Sarah's stamina and the hearts of two boys who miss their Mommy.

Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.   

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quasi Clinical Michael Update

 A silent moment in the PICU by sarahshust

Michael's surgery yesterday was intended to reveal quite a few things.  We needed to find out what was causing blockage in his airway, we anticipated it being adenoids, and it was: about 90% blockage.  They were able to remove the majority of the adenoids, leaving what is necessary to leave.

They needed to take biopsy samples from the stomach and small intestine which they were able to retrieve: results should take a couple weeks.  

They needed to remove fluid and wax build up against his eardrums.  His ear canals are so tiny that pediatric ENTs haven't been able to see down there with their tiny tools without Michael screaming in pain.  The plan was to install tubes in the drums unless the drums were too small, then they would simply cut into the drums to relieve pressure temporarily.  All the junk was removed but his drums are super duper small, no tube is small enough and even cutting the drum proved impossible.  He will need hearing aids to help be able to develop his speech…and to simply know what we sound like.  :)

They discovered that his aorta is pressing up against his trachea, quite possibly responsible for his labored breathing he's experienced since his open heart surgery in May.  We're in the process of figuring out when we can get that fixed with cardiology.  Another surgery obviously.  But a major issue.  

Somewhere near the end of this 90 minute procedure, the doctors were having trouble with his voice box surrounding his vocal chords being too small or too tight, so they intentionally nicked it so it would relax, a standard procedure, but because of Michael's hypotonia (laryngomalacia), his airway collapsed.  They had to rush him to the PICU to stabilize him.  He spent the night on oxygen and medicine to help him breathe.  This morning they began to ween him off of the O2 thankfully. 

Thank you all for your prayers and support as our family finds ourselves continuing to walk into the unknown.  

The One who holds tomorrow
Holds me in His hand
And I will not fear the future
I'll trust The Great I Am 
Who has been and always will be
Reigning on His Throne
For the One who holds me in His hand
Is the One who holds it all

(The One: From my upcoming album, written by Jonathan Smith, Benji Cowart and me)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Recording with the Band

Nate, Coker, Duffy and me. 

Never in the recording of my 5 studio albums (5!) have I had such an enjoyable, spiritual experience than I had recording this new album.  

I've had people, friends, ask me beforehand "What makes this album different from other albums?"  I struggled in that moment and all I could come up with was what was so obvious to me, "I'll be recording this one with my band."  Which seems like such a minor variable.  But it was everything.  

I have spent the last decade of my music making life with Duffy playing bass with me.  He has done nothing but progress in his mastery of that instrument.  Sure, he can mimic something that has already been played, but he brings a style and technique to the table that no one else will.  

Nate Bedingfield has played electric guitar with me since the fall of 2009 and is the Music Director for the Attic: the High School Ministry at North Point Buckhead in Atlanta.  He's playing at church week after week and his sound just gets huger and huger.  It's a word. 

Brandon Coker came on board two years ago, bringing not only much need hilarity to the troop but a passion for unadulterated worship.  This guy is a beast on the drums (if you don't already know this, wait till you hear this record) and loves Jesus with all his heart.  He also just got married to Amanda who happens to be an outstanding photographer.  

Ed Cash you know because of his work on Chris Tomlin's albums, producing a sound that we all know and love.  His love of music that elevates the praises of God is incomparable and is evidenced in the instincts he has for where a song can and should go.  Plus he's a dear friend and so easy to get to know.  

On top of their credentials and skills, these are some of my dearest friends in this life.  I'd trust them with my children, and that's saying a lot.  I love them all dearly.

Put those components together in a room for a week with a bunch of great equipment and strong songs and brace yourself for a WEEK OF WORSHIPING!!!  I wasn't even needed to sing more than one take per song, just to provide a scratch track so they could follow along in the subsequent takes.  But I loved singing these songs so much that I recorded 8-10 vocal passes for each song if not more.  I never wanted to stop singing!  Frankly I'm going through withdrawal now.  

I cannot wait to start incorporating these songs live. 

Thank you for your prayers during this time, for us in the studio, and for my family back at home.  


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recording Day 2

Nate and Duffy rocking out at 100bpms
We just finished our second of two songs so far today.  The first is what I like to call a "Throne Room Song".  The kind of songs that can take you to the foot of the Throne room in Heaven like Revelation Song by Jennie Lee Riddle or Agnus Dei by Michael W Smith can do.  Or like my song Worthy on my Whispered and Shouted album hopefully does.  It was a worshipful experience starting the day playing that song.  I think it's beautiful and powerful sounding.  

After a short visit from Chick-Fil-A we ventured out into record a barn-burnin', fist pumpin', hoe-down of a song inspired by an old hymn that I wrote with Michael Farren.  I'm listening down to it right now while Duffy finishes up his walking Bass line which is beautifully all over the place. 

The sun is setting over Ed Cash's head. We're midway through a song that I wrote 2 days before Michael was born in the hospital whose words were my sanity through the unsettling first days of learning that our precious little boy had Down Syndrome and major heart defect.  It's a song proclaiming God's faithfulness that Paul Baloche helped me finish.  And right now it sounds fantastic. 

Having the guys I always play with help create the vibe of each song, contributing to parts and the song order and tones etc is a breath of fresh air, and an absolute blast.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Recording Day One

photo by Amanda Coker
I'm actually sitting in the vocal booth right now as I type while Ed Cash and Brandon Coker are replacing the drum head that he just kicked a hole through.  Coker said never in his life has he punched a hole through a drum head and Ed said never in 10 years in this studio as he seen that happen.  No one will be able to accuse him of playing to gingerly on this record!
We have one song already done and and bunch of other songs charted out and we've played a few passes of a new song that Scott Cash wrote: you're going to love it.  I love working with these guys!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Recording an Album!

Tomorrow morning...or more accurately in a few hours, I'll wake up and drive over to Ed Cash's studio and for the 5th time begin recording a collection of songs that I have the privilege of playing around the country and now around this globe.  The wonder of that is not remotely lost on me. 

These are songs that either came from my heart or songs that have touched my heart. 
These are songs that elevate our perception of God, as He could not be lifted any higher than He is already. 
These are songs that sing of His lovingkindness and His grace and speak to our great need of Him. 
These are songs that I get to record and perform with some of my dearest friends. 
These are songs that I cannot wait to hear you sing!

Thank you for your support!
Truly grateful,