Friday, November 13, 2015

Her Birthday

I have kind of been avoiding this blog during the time surrounding Sophie Kate's birthday.  I refused to be sucked into another downward spiral of how difficult this time of year is for me.  Really and truly it wasn't even that I was making a conscious decision to avoid this space it's just that it hasn't even been on my mind.  Sophie Kate has been healthy for some time and we had a small, just the 6 of us family party planned for her on November 7th.  Y'all know how much she loves animals, so her daddy had arranged for an animal encounter for her at our local zoo. It was going to be cake, no ice cream...just some of the things Sophie Kate loves.  

Instead, her party had to be cancelled and I found myself standing over her hospital bed on her birthday (November 3rd)...and it wasn't her hospital bed that is in her room at home, it was the real life kind that is located on the 7th floor Special Care Unit of Children's Hospital.  Sophie Kate was admitted to Children's on November 2nd with aspiration pneumonia. We spent 6 days there including the day she turned 8 years old.

The irony was not lost on me that 8 years ago I stood over her hospital bed which then was an incubator in the NICU. However, we are not the same people we were 8 years ago, her and I.  And even though we found ourselves in very similar circumstances, we know that our situations do not dictate our joy and our hope in the name of Jesus.  I will not lie and say that day was all sunshine and rainbows because it wasn't...she was sick and we had an uphill climb ahead of us, but it's not a mountain that we are unfamiliar with.  This is familiar terrain for us, we have traveled these roads before and as much as I hate that this is our world, we know it and we know how to go about getting on with it.

The beauty of that day was that we were surrounded by so many who were there that same day 8 years ago when we were broken and in need of being pieced back together by our Creator and Healer.  The One who knows our inmost parts knew that we would need these people every single day of this journey and 8 years later they are still here...those things were not lost on me.

We are home now and at the beginning of the "sick season."  This too is a familiar place...being home with her. We feel safe and protected here.  It's a necessary part of our life to be here for these months with her.  We are literally nursing her back to will take time.

We are seeing glimpses off and on of our smiling, bright eyed girl.  We are ready for her to be fully back to us but for now we will keep sitting by her, caring for her, talking to her and praying over her.  Her biggest smile since she has been sick came when she was discharged from the hospital and we were on our way home...
Happy Birthday Beautiful, every one with you is a gift.

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Happy Birthday SK

Eight years ago I stood at your bedside and today I stand there still...waiting on that smile that rights my world. 
Happy Birthday to my precious girl!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

His Perfect Will

I know y'all may be tired of me recounting my small group hour at church and subsequently just write about what other people say, but it's good stuff and maybe I just need to hear it again and maybe I just might need to read it again one day as well.  I have to preface this week's topic of "When bad things happen to good people" though by saying that it is my least favorite topic and usually when I know about this topic ahead of time I skip class...yep that's the real truth of it.  But this week I forgot that we were covering my least favorite topic ever so there I sat.

But God is not in the business of wasting time in dealing with us.  Our hurts, our difficulties and our pain is not in vain.  God uses every last bit of happiness and hurt that we experience to bring us and those around us into a closer/deeper relationship with Him.  He brings good out of tough situations...Glory to His Name!

God created a perfect world.  He did not create a world with sin in it, that was our doing.  Our bad decisions, our poor choices brought sin into the world not a holy, righteous God.  He cannot be something He is not and He is not sin.  He is perfect.  Therefore, He cannot bring anything but a perfect plan to our difficult circumstances. When we see nothing but darkness He is the light.  In our imperfection, He still has a perfect plan.  Sometimes the things that come our way in life are a result of our bad decisions and our poor choices and sometimes those things happen as a result of the sinful/fallen world we live in, nevertheless, God still has a perfect plan.  He is not pleased with our poor choices and He desires for us to make wise, God-honoring decisions but He does not abandon us in our difficulty.

We attach our human words and our human emotions to God, because we don't know of any other way to describe Him or feel about Him, but our words fail miserably in comparison to His majesty.  Our emotions no matter how strongly we feel them fall so very short in comparison to the all encompassing love of our Savior.  He cannot be anything other than who He is...and He is holy and righteous.  His will is perfect, even though I am not.  

1 Corinthians 2:9, "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived-the things God has prepared for those who love Him-these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Obligation vs. Opportunity

Today in our small groups at church we talked about obligations.  How do we define an obligation? What are our obligations? How do we feel about our obligations and what keeps us from fulfilling all of our obligations?  Yes, there was lots of talk about obligations and as a whole we all agreed that the word "obligation" has a negative connotation.  It's something we have to do or we feel like we have to do whether we like it or not.  Of course we had some fun with it and laughed a good bit at the things the guy groups and the girl groups came up with, but in the end it came down to our attitude and the way in which we choose to view things.  

When we only give God bits and pieces of our life and still try and cling to/control the other areas then those things begin to weigh us down.  Those things start to feel like tasks or jobs or...wait for it...obligations.  However, when we give it all to God...our family, our work, our finances, our extracurricular activities, etc then we can begin to see our obligations differently.

I have a real life example, I am living it actually.  Now please don't hear what I'm not saying, I don't live it perfectly.  I am no more here to judge you than I want to be judged myself.  I wake up every morning to a day that can be viewed as an obligation or as an opportunity just like you do.

Eight almost nine years ago when our little girl was born the world told us it was a tragedy and that taking care of her would be a burden to our family.  We had a choice then just as we do now, are we going to walk through this thing with God or without God.  Everything you go about doing throughout your day we have to do for Sophie Kate. We have to care for her in every way you can think of and in lots of ways you can't.  Yes, there have been many many days that I approached her and all the things I had to do for her as an obligation.  However, over the years God has been more patient with me than I deserve and He has shown me through her sweet spirit that she is not a burden as the father of lies would have me believe.

She gives me far more than I could ever give or do for her. She gives me the opportunity to be a better person by loving her.  She gives me the opportunity to be selfless by putting someone else's needs above my own.  When I look at her and love her as God looks at her and loves her, not that I can be equal with God or do exactly as God does but I can follow the example Christ has set, then she is not a burden or an obligation.  In fact, it becomes my pleasure and my privilege to care for her.  It is in these moments when my obligations, my gifts, and all the demands of life are given over to God that I can see the things that really matter and it isn't the things we are bombarded with every day.  It is in these moments that God reveals His priorities and contrary to what I may think or want it has nothing to do with outward appearances or what my house looks like or what kind of car I drive.

I can see what I once viewed as my obligations as opportunities when I see them as God sees them. 

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."

Monday, July 6, 2015

But God...

I had to let go of the dream of seeing Sophie Kate come down the aisle a long time ago.  I had to mourn the loss of her in a beautiful dress and all things wedding. And while it is not something I think about every day, it is something that creeps back into my mind, my thoughts and my dreams from time to time...and each time I have to let go of it again.  As far as I was concerned, I had to come to terms with the fact that it would never happen. That's how I dealt with it...just let it go, it will never happen.

But God...

I love when stories begin that way because something really special is about happen, something that is unexpected, unforeseen and truly lovely.  

God brought families together and formed relationships that have grown over many years.  Through that friendship and through that connection God brought about the unexpected.

Our sweet girl as the flower girl in Callie and Conley's wedding...
We did it all from the Bridal Tea, to the Bridesmaids Brunch...
 to the Rehearsal, to the Rehearsal dinner...
to the Wedding itself.  For all things wedding our girl was front and center, ahem, I mean after the Bride and Groom, of course.

Hanging out in the Bride's room...
 Getting her hair done...
Ready for the big day with her best guy by her side...
Yes, Grey was in the wedding too.  He pushed her down the aisle and yes it was almost more than my heart could hold.

I got to see my girl come down the aisle...a dream that I believed died the day she was born.  God is in the details of our lives!! Someone needs to hear that today.  He cares about our hurts and our hearts.  

It was a perfectly lovely day.  

Psalm 27:13-14 "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What we have been up to

I have been so neglectful of the of the blog lately.  I guess I just needed some time away from it.  I mainly keep it for a scrapbook for our family and now that I am off facebook I do not dare assume there are any readers left other than the occaisonial grandparent.  I am defintely going to finish our Give Kids the World trip, but I wanted to catch y'all up on what we have been up to.  

When we found ourselves at the being of February, I knew we would be so busy and the time would just fly between those days and the end of school...and it did.  We had our Give Kids the World trip in February, we went "camping" with friends for Spring Break at the end of March and then we had our annual family trip to Smith Lake a bit early this year the week of Memorial Day.

I knew that three trips in four months would not be easy with our girl, but Chad and I want her to have every experience she possibly can and we all want to do those things with her and with each other. With February and the coming months laying out before me, some of my thoughts tried to convince me that it would just be easier to stay home...those thoughts are right, you know.  It would be easier to stay home, in our environment, in her enviornment.  It would be easier to stay home where all of her equipment is easy to get to and we have her chair and her bed and all her stuff.  

Traveling with Sophie Kate is hard work, but the experiences with the people we love are so worth it.
Smith Lake 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hollywood Studios

Day 5 we found ourselves back on Disney property at Hollywood Studios.  First up on the agenda was going to see the Frozen show.  I had been looking forward to this all week and it did not disappoint.
Front row seats again, Disney takes care of their special needs families.

Sweet Minnie, she is always so darling with our girl.

It was very cold at Hollywood Studios that day, can you tell?  We were well prepared and happy to be there, because as cold as it was there in Florida that day, we knew it was much colder back home.

Our Disney girl, loving being at the happiest place on earth.
Our Sophia meeting Sophia the First.

Looking back at these pictures brings tears to my eyes. We waited for this trip for so long.  These are some of the sweetest memories now of a trip that was more than we could have ever dreamed or imagined.  
Our last day is coming up next and you won't believe what all we squeezed into one day...or you just might if you know how crazy we are about Disney.