Monday, January 28, 2008

Living, Loving and Making a Difference

So many things to ponder - and I find myself pondering things often.  I know that though I pray often throughout my day that I need to spend more time in the word - alone.  Why is that so hard for me at times?  Why haven't I learned this lesson that keeps coming back in my life - over and over again.  I know that the days I start with God are richer and more peaceful so why do I let things get in the way of that?  Why is this still a struggle?  I do know that when I pay attention, that it is a good reminder to be patient with my children when they struggle over and over with the same thing(s). 

For those that know me in real life, you know I'm not a morning person - and never have been.  I love the quiet of the night and waking up early is tough.  I don't find my mind is very alert then either.  So while I love the idea of an early morning quiet time, my body fights it all the way - and probably my mind/attitude too!  Sounds like a discipline problem doesn't it?  I do think my day starts better though when I spend time with God.   

A friend sent me this video/poem called The Dash   I think you will be encouraged by it.  I know I was.  I know that I want to make a difference.  I want to live my life fully - loving those that are around me!  I know that God has called me to be a Mom and that raising my children is an incredible task.  I am so thankful to have this calling!  Some days I feel like I've blown it - like yesterday when one of my children confronted me about complaining about his/her behavior to a friend on the phone.  Ouch!  I need to watch my tongue.  A lesson that I think is never fully learned. 

I think that the role of a Mom is an important one - and not limited to just serving your family.  I think this is true of whatever God has called you to do in your life.  I think at times we watch others who are "going" out to serve and think that they are somehow doing more.  There are many other ways we can serve - praying for others is one of my favorites.  I know that I personally have been incredibly blessed by the willingness of others to pray - and even to fast - for Eliana and our family.  God has touched my heart many times through this selfless and faithful act of others.  There are other ways I have found to serve during this season of life as well.   

  • Encouragment - This can come in so many forms from a word well spoken, a note/email or even just a hug.  Don't underestimate the power of encouragment to help someone get out of a hole or even have the desire to then encourage others in their lives. 

  • Service - There are so many opportunities in our families, neighborhoods, churches and communities to serve.  We just need to open our eyes to them.  My daughter Rebecca is especially good at doing this.  She has been bringing bags of food and other things to a homeless man that we often see on our way to church.  I love her heart for him and the way that she remembers him.  Just this week she decided she wanted to make Valentines for children that may not get them.  We are hoping to make bags with a card and candy to take to a local group of children.  I love that Rebecca doesn't feel bound by her circumstances, but looks for ways to work within them. 

  • Financial - There are always groups that need our support.  We have found two that we wanted to support this year.  I wanted to share them with you. 

The first is Reece's Rainbow.  This is a group that helps facilitate the adoption of children in foreign countries with Down syndrome.  There are pictures of many of these children.  One of my friends who has adopted children with Down syndrome once told me that she wanted to help people see value in these beautiful children.  I can understand that.  I know that before Eliana was born that I couldn't image choosing Down syndrome.  Now though, I can.  Would I have chosen for Eliana to have Down syndrome - no.  Though my life is so much richer for it now! 

Eliana has brought such joy, love and blessing to our lives - I can't imagine life without her.  I'm so thankful she is ours!  At the same time, I realize that others may look at us and not see the blessing of this special child - I hope that won't be the case though.  I hope that we will live our lives in such a way that they will see that there is great worth in each child created by God. 

The second group is called Kiva.  This groups helps make loans to people in foreign countries who are trying to start or build their business.  You look through the profiles of those wanting a loan and then can choose to make a loan in $25 increments.  You will receive a note when the loan is made - and I'm not sure if you get any in the midst of the loan period.  (There is a specified time for each loan.)  When the loan is repaid, you will get your money back and then can loan it to someone else.  I think this is a neat way to have a heart for those in other countries and to appreciate and encourage the work that they are doing.  The repayment rate for the loans is very high too.  We have just made our first loan last month thanks to a gift from friends and it will be a neat thing to follow along. 

I hope none of this sounds preachy.  Just wanted to share some of what is in my heart.  I am thankful for the work that God calls each of us to do - and it does look different for each of us. 

With love, 


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Creatures of Creation

We went on a neat field trip with our  homeschool group a couple of weeks ago.  I haven't talked much about our homeschool group - but I love it!!!  It's a small group of families that use the Five in a Row curriculum.  We plan field trips around the books used in our curriculum.  We go on a field trip every other week and have Mom's meetings once per month.  I am very thankful to have this sweet group of friends with whom to share the journey of homeschooling.

Back to the field trip.  We hosted Dan Breeding who presented a Creatures of Creation program for our group.  (Click on the title to visit his website.)  The program was awesome!  He talked about animals and how they were specifically created to live and do what they do by a Creator.  He also showed us the animals that he talked about.  We were up close too!

The first animal we saw was a porcupine.  This animal fluffs out his quills when he feels threatened to try to scare away the threat.  He will back into the enemy if needed - but does not shoot his quills.  I thought it was fascinating to watch him eat a banana - peeling the skin off with his teeth and then eating the sweet fruit.

The next animal was an owl.  This was the tie-in for our family as we have been reading Owl Moon this week.  He talked about the size of the owl's  eyes relative to it's head size (would be like our eyes being the size of a softball).  He showed us how the owl could rotate his head and explained why their flight is so quiet (fringed tips of the feathers) - and then had the owl flap it's wings so we could hear for ourselves.

The third animal was a gibbon - sooo cute.  The moms were all impressed to watch him change his diaper with just one hand while perched on his knee.  LOL  The gibbon is able to hang from it's hands for up to 30 minutes.  He also talked about training varieties of monkeys in film projects over the years.

The last animal was an alligator - 7 feet long.  We were sitting close to the table edge and I kept hoping none of the animals would hop down.  He talked about how alligators have a special valve in the backs of their throats that stays closed when they swim through water so that they won't drown.  When they want to eat, they lift the mouth into the air so the valve opens to let in the food.  He let anyone that wanted to  have a photo with the alligator.

All through the morning Dan talked about God and the awesome design He had for animals - and most especially for us because we are created in His image.  It was fun, exciting and interactive.  He does travel if anyone wants to talk with him about doing a program in their area. 

He told us about a movie he had worked on and our family rented it and really enjoyed it.  It is called Most Vertical Primate about a monkey that learns how to snowboard.  Dan even had a small role in the movie and it was fun to see him in it!  We are planning to rent some of the other movies in this series too.

Will update more later on the rest of the family.  We are all well and there is much to share from therapies and such.  At the moment though I have a wiggly girl on my lap and I need to get off  of the computer.




Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow Days

I thought I’d share a few pics of what snow in NC looked like for us this week. Don’t laugh too hard. Well, go ahead – I know I did. There is sooooo much brown for a "snow day".

The snow began late Sat afternoon. It was first rain, then a snowflake here and there. The children wanted to go out right away, but I asked them to wait a little longer until it was really snow and not just freezing rain. They went out and played – made tiny snowmen and tried to sled. We haven’t had a good snow in years and they are just thrilled with any little bit that they can get.

The following day they went out sledding with their Daddy. There is a hill in the woods behind our house with a steep path. It was perfect for sledding. When I looked at the picture I commented that I was surprised that they could sled at all as I didn’t see any snow! Roger said that there was a layer of ice on the leaves that made things slick so that it worked like a charm.

I’m glad that they were able to enjoy the snow – and I’m still hoping we’ll get at least one good snow this year.  (There are no pics of my oldest and youngest as they skipped the  "snow" and stayed inside.)

With love,


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Prayers for health

We would love prayers for health here.  Sweet Eliana is having drainage - which at times is a runny nose (clear).  This is making it hard for her to eat.  Today was especially poor.  Only 3.5 bottles from the 5 she is supposed to have.

I forgot to share another piece of her ped visit the other day.  We talked about removing the g-tube.  I want it out - and our ped knows that.  She wants to wait through the sick season in case we need to use the tube to avoid a hospital trip for dehydration.  I understand that and have agreed that this is for the best.  I also don't want to use the tube at all!!!  I don't want to have it delayed if we do choose to use it.  I know she can go a short time with less food, but not for long.  It's hard to know sometimes.  We just pray and do our best.  I've spent much time being dehydrated myself (pregnancies) and hope that I would recognize it in my daughter. 

Our ped asked when I was thinking about getting it out - and I replied probably April.  She sighed and responded that was great as she was thinking end of March.  She wants to see another couple of months of increased weight gain before she is comfortable recommending removal of the tube. 

In other news, we had snow!  Not much - but the children enjoyed what there was of it.  We have photos that I'll try to post tomorrow.  I think  you will get a real chuckle out of most of them!  I know I did.

Thank you once again for prayers for our sweet girl.  I held her for many hours today in order to keep her upright to help with her breathing.  What a privilege to have the time to just hold our precious girl.

With love,


Friday, January 18, 2008

News from this week ...

We've had a busy week - and I thought I'd share about the last couple of days. 

Wednesday was our therapy day.  It feels like a really long day - and one in which it is hard to get much else done.  I am trying to keep my focus on the good things that come from these therapies though.  Daniel LOVES going to his therapy and asks frequently if he can go see Miss L.  He wants to have her come here - and I agree - though for his needs there is better.  She told me that she was going to really focus on Daniel's sensory issues.  She doesn't think we will make much progress with eating until we can work through some of the sensory things first.

Some of the things we are going to be working on at home with Daniel include "brushing" him (soft bristled special brush) several times a day.  He hated this the first time we tried it, but has gotten better with tolerating it.  I tried it on myself and thought it felt good - like a deep massaging brush.  For my sweet little sensory avoider though it was just too much.  We will be trying other sensory things with his hands like writing in flour, playing with play-doh or in rice or beans.  He is liking these things.  He does not like getting his hands messy or dirty though.  He is the first of my children to want to wash his hands when something gets on them.

All of this sensory stuff is still really new to me.  I don't understand it and will probably be seeking out some books to help me get a better grasp on things.  The therapist said that most of us have sensory issues - things that affect us - but we are able to deal with them.  Things like not liking loud noises or bright lights or the touch/feel of certain things.  For others, the sensory issues can affect how they are able to manage living. 

Eliana tried a new food at her therapy time - noodles.  Her therapist thinks she likes textured foods better than the soft baby foods and wants us to try giving her more of these.  She also liked eating a club cracker stick.  She gave her some water to drink and she closed her mouth (instead of leaving it open) which is also great news!

Physical therapy was also on this day.  We spent most of the time working on the steps.  Eliana has gotten good at crawling over things (usually my legs) and the steps are the next thing for her to master.  Now, I really don't want her to know how to climb the stairs.  I mean, we'll have to keep her from climbing them as soon as she figures out how to do it.  LOL  She worked hard - though cries and wants to cuddle when she is just tired of the work. 

Wednesday was also Roger's birthday.  The children all made cards/e-cards for him.  I love seeing their thoughts and how it comes out in words and pictures.  The also gave him a great greeting.  The older children decided to pool their money to buy a dinner out for both of us.  We tried to go that evening, but Joshua gagged (literally) on a green bean.  We wanted to be sure that he wasn't sick so we postponed the dinner date.

Thursday we had our monthly visit to the pediatrician.  Eliana has gained weight!!!  She is up to 18lb 2oz.  This was her main concern last month and her ped believes it is essential to her getting the g-tube removed.  She is progressing along a curve - lower than before - but has a pattern from the last 2 months.  Her ped wants her to make 2 more moves up the curve before she recommends the tube being removed.  She also commented though during her exam of  Eliana that she looks well and has enough "fat'.  She's just a petite little thing. 

Otherwise she is doing well.  Her ears look good.  Her ped is amazed that she has dodged the ear infection even when she had a cold.  I'm hoping that she will continue on that path too!  Dr L also commented on how well she engages with people.  I love hearing things like this. 

Last night, Roger and I were able to go out to dinner.  Eliana came with us and slept through it all.  It was quiet in the restaurant as we went out late.  It was a nice time together. 

Today has been a full day AT HOME!!!  I've always loved those days, but with things that cause us to go out during the week, I'm especially thankful for our days with nothing to go do.  We are staying home.  Friends are coming over for pizza and a movie.  I'm hoping to scrapbook some this week-end.  I haven't done this since Eliana was born so I'm even further behind than I was a year ago.  (I'm not sure I'll ever catch up though.) 

The thing that most excites my children is that snow is forecasted for tomorrow.  We have not had a good snow in a couple of years and this would be a lot of fun.  It would be nice for it to happen on a week-end so that Roger can be outside with them.  Between Eliana and my foot, I'm not sure I'm a good candidate for playing in the snow. 

I continue to reflect on God's call on my life.  What does it mean to serve Him?  How do I need to move out of my comfort zone to love on others?  How can I serve with my family?  Are we worshipping God in a way that is pleasing to Him.  I want to have God's heart for others.  I feel like He opening my heart to new things - some I know are due to how my eyes and heart have been forever changed by having Eliana join our family.  I remain thankful and blessed.

With love,


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Year's Eve fun - and photos!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned before, but I really enjoy holidays and creating traditions around them.  I've begun to enjoy things being simpler though so as not to be stressed out during the holidays so that I don't enjoy them.  Well, this year some friends on the Five in a Row board were talking about these "New Year's Eve bags".  It sounded like fun and I thought while I was sitting around with my foot propped up that I could plan something fun with these.

Well, I didn't get to it until the night before and it still turned out wonderfully.  I was helped in large part by many of my friends.  They posted their activities and rhymes.  I copied some, changed some and did a little (very little) of my own to make the night our own.

We invited friends to come over about 5pm and then the fun started.  There was a little prep work in advance and some last minute shopping, but all in all it was pretty simple.  Did I mention that I'm really liking simple?!  Just wanted to share that part because I'm not a super mom by any stretch and this is something fun that anyone could do.

I downloaded a picture of a clock face from the internet and drew the hands on to represent the time that the bag could be opened.  Inside each bag was a small rhyme and items to go along with the "hourly" activity.  (Mine didn't always end up being on the hour - just adjusted so it worked for us!).

Here are the bags:

*5:00 – In the bag: paper plates, beans, stapler, markers

It’s time to get loud, it’s time to celebrate,
The party has just begun!
With markers and beans a noisemaker we will shape,
And have some FUN, FUN, FUN!

My younger boys especially loved making these - and then making lots of noise with them.  Eliana also likes to shake things so she had a shaker of her own.

 *5:30 – In the bag: cardstock with questions, pens, lollipops

We’ll also think ahead - 2008 is almost here.

This surprise comes on a stick,
You'll enjoy it with a lick!
It’s fun to reflect and think back on the year

We took some time to answer the following questions and share our answers.  I'll put mine in after the questions.  I think it will be fun to save these and look back on them next year or in the years to come.  A fun item for my scrapbook - whenever I might get around to doing it.  LOL

 *Favorite book you’ve read this year  So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore.  It's not what it sounds like, but rather is a fictionalized story about a man and his walk with Christ.  One of the main characters asks a lot of questions to get the other main character to really examine his relationship with God.  It has given me a lot of food for thought too.  I borrowed the book and liked it enough that I'm planning on buying it so I can reread it and share it with friends.

*Favorite trip you’ve taken this year The beach with my family.  It was our first trip with Eliana and she was 9 months old.  It was fun and relaxing and just nice to be together as a family.

*Name something you are most thankful for - Eliana's repaired heart.  There are many other things I could list, but this was the first thing that popped into my mind.  It was also what Roger listed.

*Something you have learned - This has been a process for me and I've shared it before.  I have learned that God is good - even when my circumstances aren't.  He loves me and it isn't shown by how things are going in my life.  It's all about my relationship with Him.

*Something you hope to do next year - Travel with my family.  I miss our trips around North Carolina.  I miss long field trips. I think I'm feeling like this is something we can do again sometime soon. 

*6:00 - In the bag: pizza crusts, olives, mushrooms

Is your tummy getting rumbly?

Are you ready for some food?

Pepperoni, olives, & cheese,
Sauce and dough ~ Make dinner please!

 *7:00 – In the bag: Spoons game, colored cardstock, markers to make a "Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008" sign.

If your tummys are full and you are ready to race
You’ll be grabbing a spoon to stay in the chase

Then let’s make a sign to say goodbye

And welcome the new year with a loud cry!

 Yes, I'm in the background on the computer.  I'd been on my feet and was taking a break to prop up my foot.  Spoons is a fun game that can be played with a group. 

*8:00 – In the Bag: Makings for cookies – cutters, sprinkles

A better snack there never will be,
You can use your skill and creativity

You can add frosting, sprinkles too

As we wait for the year that is new.

*9:00 – In the Bag: Pictionary Jr, Bible Outburst, Cranberry limeade

Let’s get out a game ... and test your skills
Drawing and knowledge ... this isn’t a drill!
Let’s play a board game for a minute or so,
Only 3 more hours to go!

This has been a fun game for our whole family.  It works well with a wide spread of ages - and is short (can play as many times as you want) and interesting. 

*10:00 – In the Bag: Movie – Ratatoille, popcorn

By now it’s time for some laughs and a movie.
Has this been fun? Has this been groovy?
Let’s all grab a spot and start the show,
Let’s eat popcorn…. 1, 2, 3 … GO!

We hung a sheet up over the fireplace and used a borrowed projector to make a great big screen for our movie showing.  During the evening, Eliana hung out, crawled around and played with lots of people. 

*11:45 – In the bag: A scripture for each person to read. shake noise makers, take pictures, cups for bubbly drinks

It's time to say good-bye to '07,


A hug, a prayer, a sweet drink for the toast,

Happy New Year, it's 2008

Watching the ball drop will be great!

I think this was one of my favorite New Year's Eves.  I look forward to doing this again!

With love,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Romans 15:13

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23


A short update on what is going on here ...

Things have been busy here the last few days.  We've had my sweet friend that moved (and her children) here to visit so my time on the computer has been minimal.  It's been crazy and fun having 10 children running around the house.  Here's an update on what's been happening.

Mon - We met with a speech therapist as well as Eliana's case worker (that coordinates therapy services for us).  The therapist played with her and observed her doing various things.  The activity that was the most fun for *me* was watching her do some "pretend play".  I was stunned that she would do some of this.  Now, I realize that it is just copying at this point, but I was still amazed.  The therapist took out a small (doll sized) bottle, bowl and spoon and cup.  She pretended to feed Eliana's little cow.  (It's one of her favorite toys.)  Eliana did some of the same things - though not always the one that she had just seen.  It was really cute!

Wed - Feeding therapy for both Eliana and Daniel.  Physical therapy for Eliana.  It's a busy day.  One of my children today asked what we had going on tomorrow and my answer was "Therapy, therapy and therapy".  The response was "Is that all?"  It's also Roger's birthday - so if you see him or want to phone/email - give him some birthday greetings!

Thur - We have a visit with our Ped.  In the afternoon, I'm having a gal come over to show me and a friend some skin care things.  Hopefully it will be relaxing and fun too.

Fri - Nothing in the morning.  Science lab and other activities for the older girls here with a sweet friend and her children.

My foot is doing fine.  I'm still able to get around on it, though it does hurt more over the last couple of days.  I'm not sure if it's because I know where the break is now, but I can feel it at times.  My heel (in the boot) has been getting sore some too.  Trying to stay off of it is tough, though I don't feel like I'm too active most days. 

Before I close I want to list some things for which I'm thankful.

*Good health - This is always a nice thing, and especially appreciated after having dealt with sickness on and off the last couple of months.  We have no sickness here now and I'm thankful for that!

*Friends - I'm thankful for friends that send encouraging notes, offer hugs and share wisdom.  I'm thankful for the experiences of others from which I'm learning.  I'm thankful to have been able to visit from friends living far away over the last couple of weeks.  We had friends from MI visit for a few days.  We hadn't seen them in a couple of years and what fun our children had playing - and the adults too!  What a busy house with 7 boys running around in it!  (The girls just didn't seem as loud.  LOL)

*Family - I've been incredibly blessed.  I'm thankful, very thankful, for the precious people God has given to me as family.

 I'm going to go try to add in the New Year's post separately and hope I don't lose it this time.

Blessings and hugs to you,


Friday, January 11, 2008

Short update

Ugh!  I just wrote a long entry - lots of thoughts and ramblings.  Sharing about our New Year's Eve.  Lots of pictures.  When I went to save it - some computer error - it's gone.  *sigh*  It's too late to redo all of that now. 

I'll share a bit about our week and then some notes about things I hope to write about soon.  (Maybe I should just put that on a to-do list.)

*My foot - I went back to the orthopaedist this week and had x-rays.  I did indeed break a bone.  Interestingly, it isn't where there is a lot of bruising.  She noted that I didn't have "something" (can't remember) growing around the break.  I asked if it should be there and she said yes.  I told her that if I should have been keeping off of my foot more, then I haven't been.  I'm able to walk  well with the boot on and I do walk about as much as I can.  She wants me to tape 2 toes together and keep wearing the boot for at least another week.  I can wear shoes then as I want.  I'll go back again in 3 weeks.  I'm not in much pain and seem to be doing fine with getting about.  I really can't complain at all! 

*Therapy for Eliana is going well.  We only had PT this week as our feeding therapist is out of town.  Eliana is slipping off the "normal" developmental curve.  It was only a matter of time before this would happen, but we are still encouraged that she is doing very well.  She is working on standing with support and we are trying to teach her to pull up.  Things she'll need to learn before learning to walk.

*Speech therapy - We have our first appointment next week.  Eliana is babbling some and we have been encouraged to go ahead and start with speech.  I'm not sure what this will entail - but I'll share more when I do know.  If this ends up being weekly, we will have 4 therapies a week.  That's quite a bit for me - and my preference for an uncluttered weekly schedule.

*Ped - We had an unexpected visit with our ped this week.  She wanted a pic with one/some of her patients (for an interview) and asked if I'd bring Eliana by for a photo.  We were most happy to oblige.  I was happy she even asked.  I love that Eliana is known and cared for by her ped (who is wonderful!). 

Things I want to post on:

*New Year's Eve - We had a blast and have lots of pictures.  I want to share our activities.  We had so much fun that we are all hoping to make this a tradition.

*Word of the year - This is from a really neat post by a friend and I want to share it all with you to encourage you in this New Year.

*Some organizations that I think are neat and making a difference in the world that I want others to know about as well.

*Homeschooling - I'd love to share some pictures and some of the things that are going on at our house.  We had an awesome field trip this week and I have some cool photos of that as well.

Sometime it's hard for me to write on some of these things.  Items that seem so unimportant in comparison to all that we've dealt with in the last year.  I remember well struggling with 'normal everyday things" when we were trying so hard just to accomplish basic things for survival.  I wonder sometimes if this stuff is too light, unimportant?  Is this what I'm here to be doing?

I used to think that life was about finding ways to be happy, to help others and to live a good life.  I'm not saying any of those things are wrong, but I think that there is so much more.  I think we are called to live a life of purpose, to be challenged, to take risks and at times to do things that make sense to nobody else just because it is what God wants us to do.  I've been pondering a lot of things and wondering what God is calling me to do.  What changes do I need to make in my life in order to do what He wants me to do?  Am I bringing glory to Him?  Am I willing to step out in faith and do His work for me?

I do think it's good to share our light, fun and happy times.  I want so much for people to know that life with a child with special needs is not dreary or burdensome.  Yes, there are burdens, but I don't feel that my life has a weight on it due to Eliana.  I feel just the opposite - incredibly blessed that this precious little girl was chosen by God to be a part of our family.  I want others to be able to share in this blessing - even if it's just from knowing us via this blog. 

I am thankful for many things.  God has blessed me in ways I could never have imagined.  

With love,


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Update on Eye Appointment

I am thrilled to report that at this time ...

Eliana does not need glasses!!! 

One of my friends said that she hoped I'd be crying tears of joy with the news that I received today - and that was indeed the case!  I'm thankful that Eliana does not have to deal with this right now.  She will still need to be seen again in 6 months so it's not as though it will never be a possibility, but for now, they are not needed.

So many of my sweet and faithful friends were praying and things went so very smoothly this morning that I could hardly believe it.  We had a short wait before being seen and then were out of there in less than an hour and a half!  That doesn't sound so short when I type it, but it is compared to some other visits.  None of the children needed eye drops so that helped a lot.

Joshua's vision is holding.  He has been patching to try to strengthen one of his eyes and thankfully it had not deteriorated at all.  Isaiah is doing well too.  If we could just keep his glasses in one piece it would be much easier.  That cute boy is constantly breaking his glasses - more than all the other children combined. 

I know that even if the news had been different, that God would still be good - and that He would still be answering prayers.  I am grateful that today's answer was one that I really wanted. 

With a grateful heart,


Monday, January 7, 2008

Eye appointments

Well, I haven't been very good about updating here recently.  Sorry about that.  Here's a quick look at what has been going on over the last week.

  • We had a wonderful New Year's Eve.  We celebrated with friends and had a fun party with "surprise activity bags to open throughout the evening.  I plan to share what we did and pictures.

  • Friends came to visit us for several days and it was so much fun!  They live far from us and we don't get to see them often.  They have children the same ages and genders as our oldest 4 and the kids had a blast playing together!  Lots of boys running around the house!

  • I received some fun gifts in the mail!  A digital photo book from Michelle.  This is going to be a fun project - thank you so much!   Also some stamps from my sweet friend Hollie.  Thank you!

  • I'm still trying to finish Christmas shopping.  Yes, this has definitely been my year of being behind in EVERYTHING!  LOL  I'm hoping that *maybe* this week I'll get things done.  We'll see.  We are making donations for several of our gifts and I'll share those sites with you a little later - after I've sent them. 

  • We started back our homeschooling today.  It was a good day despite sleeping in late (due to being up late the night before).  We accomplished almost everything that was on the list which is a great day in my book!

Tomorrow - Tuesday

Three of our children have eye appointments - Eliana, Isaiah and Joshua.  Eliana has been seen once before in the summer. At the time she was slightly far-sighted and within the bounds of normal for a young baby.  At that time the doctor wanted to wait six months before seeing her again.

For a little history, ALL of our children have had some vision problems. The boys worse than Rebecca (who does not currently wear glasses). Neither Roger or I wear glasses.

I'm so hoping and praying that Eliana's vision will be fine. I won't be shocked (like I was with the first couple of children) if she needs glasses, but I so don't want to deal with one more thing.

I am thankful that my children are able to see with the help of glasses, but I really don't want to do this again. I just want her little face to be free of glasses.   

I would love prayers for our appointment. Since we have 3 appts - it could be a very long morning for us. (They don't tend to be very prompt or quick, though they are very good.) I'm not sure if anyone needs to have their eyes dialated - I'm really hoping not this time. Please pray for my mama's heart. I've cried each time one of my children's vision has been diagnosed as poor. My tears come so much more easily now too.

It sounds so selfish to say this - but I'm just wanting some time of "nothing new" in terms of medical issues with our sweet girl. I know we can handle it - and am almost expecting it - but I'm really hoping we don't have to.

Thank you friends for walking with us on this journey.

With love,



Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year ... and more

Happy New Year!  It's 2008!  Do you ever start the new year wondering about what lies ahead.  I wonder what joys, surprises and challenges this year holds.  I wonder what ways I will learn more about the God who loves me deeply.  I wonder how He will show His faithfulness, love and compassion.  I don't want to know now - as I truly believe that He only gives us the grace to handle things when we need them, not in advance.  Sometimes it doesn't even feel like there is enough to get through the day.

Just one year ago, I started on a new adventure for me - blogging.  Yesterday Roger pointed out that the one year anniversary of this blog was coming up the following day.   My very first post was an attempt to share pictures of our new little girl.  She was just 2 weeks old - but it had been a difficult first two weeks between medical diagnosis of heart problems, feeding difficulties, a stay in the NICU, 2 weeks of sick family members and much more.  I felt broken, confused and sad.  This just wasn't how I imagined things would be.  I hadn't had an opportunity to share photos of our little sweetheart and thought a blog might be a good way to share.

Here are those first posts if you want to see them.

I didn't know what having a blog would mean to me either.  I never really understood why people blogged.  I knew blogging wasn't for me - afterall, I'm not a writer and had no idea what I would say.  With Eliana's birth, all of that changed.  We had a lot of information that we wanted to share with family and friends  so that they could join us in praying for our little girl.  We wanted others to know what was going on as we walked this new path God layed before us.

When I look back at photos, I can see how hard this was for me.  The joy and lightness I've experienced after the births of my other children just wasn't part of the experience with Eliana.  That kind of makes me sad now - like I somehow missed something.  I know though that I was doing all that I could.  I was trying my best and giving my all to our sweet baby girl.  I was learning how to trust and lean on God in ways I hadn't done before.  God was showing me that He was enough, that He is faithful, that He loves me.  God had much to teach me and I continued to pray that I would be open to learning what it was He wanted to share.

Thank you for caring for Eliana and our family.  We have experienced love in so many different ways - prayers, letters/notes/emails, phone calls, meals, hugs, housecleaning, gifts and so much more.  I can't even begin to share how deeply I've been touched by each and every act.  I wish I had been better about writing thank you notes and hopefully I'll still get caught up, but I am grateful nonetheless.  Each thing has touched my heart.  I've been encouraged that people want to know what is going on - and humbled when something has touched their hearts too.

As we start a new year, I can say with all of my heart, that I'm thankful.  I'm thankful to be Eliana's mom.  I'm thankful that Eliana's heart is repaired.  I'm thankful for my precious family and dear friends.  I'm thankful for the services we have received - both for medical and therapy needs.  Mostly, I'm thankful to be a daughter of the King.  I'm thankful to know that God loves me (and you) with a love so deep we can't even imagine it - and a heart so forgiving that nothing can drive Him away.  Isn't that amazing?!

Eliana's name means "My God answers".  A year ago, I wondered what exactly He was answering.  He certainly had not answered all of my prayers - but instead He has given me more.  He has given me the opportunity to learn things I would never had learned without Eliana.  He has given me the chance to experience His love and faithfulness in ways I've never known before.  He has shown me grace, power and beauty in ways that truly touch my heart.  The exciting part is that I know that this journey will continue and that there is much more ahead of all of us.

This past year has been an amazing and memorable one.  At times I wondered if I would ever get to a place where I was thankful for this path.  Would I have chosen for some things to have turned our differently - yes.  (I think the thing that still hurts deeply is not being able to nurse Eliana.  I still wonder at times if I did all that I could.)  However, I am thankful to have walked this path.  I am incredibly thankful for a delightful daughter named Eliana that has taught not only me - but so many others - about love, courage and strength.  And Joy!  Oh, does this little girl bring joy! 

I would walk this path again.  A year ago I could only fear what lay ahead, but now I'm able to look back and give thanks.  I can truely say with a thankful heart - God is good.

With love,


PS  Eliana has her first tooth!  I noticed it just after midnight last night!  We had a wonderful celebration and I'll post more about that later this week.