Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Than Conquerors

At the end of our small group time this past Sunday night, we were given the "homework" assignment of reading Romans 8 three times this week.  Really, we're to read the same scripture 3 times in one week?  What you have to know about me is that if I am anything at all I am first and foremost a "rule follower."  I credit it to my "first born child" upbringing.  So read it three times I did and isn't it so amazing that God meets us right where we are when we seek Him and His truths.

There are many verses that I journaled about this week and I want to get to them all, but God has laid verse 37 particularly heavy on my heart, maybe it will speak to you as it has spoken so beautifully to me.

Romans 8:37 "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

I have heard this verse before, but this week the Holy Spirit allowed it to fall fresh on me and in the quietness of those moments my tears fell.  "In all these things," in good times and in bad times, in peaks and in valleys, in joy and in sorrow, in the midst of storms and when there are calm waters...we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ.

It's not our situation, it's not our circumstances that effect whether or not we are conquerors through Jesus Christ.  It's not like on a bad day we're not going to be conquerors that day.  We are more than conquerors everyday, if we are Christ followers,  regardless of what we are going through b/c of the blood of Jesus.

I haven't been living like a conqueror for at least 2 1/2 years (not that I really was before either) b/c I have a special needs child and it's tough and feeling sorry for myself and for her takes up a lot of my time, but God does not intend for me to live that way.  When you look at your life against the backdrop of the cross it is a perspective changer for sure.  All this stuff is temporary, my eternal home is in heaven.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm still such a mess and my thoughts are all over the place, but thankfully I don't have to have it all together all the time.  Thanking God today for His truths and for His patience with me.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Double Digit Birthday

My oldest hit the big 1-0 this weekend.  Everyone has told him that once he hits double digits there is no going's only downhill from here, ha ha.  Right now he would give anything to be older but I told him, "this feeling too shall pass."  One day you will wish those numbers would stop piling up so quickly, but for now 14, 15, & 16 just can't get here soon enough.

We took him to his favorite place to eat, which is known in our house as "cook in front of us."  It is actually a Japanese Steak house but you know it's one of those places where they...well, they...cook the food in front of you.

They all love it and beg to go there all the time.  The thing I like best about "cook in front of us" is that they like the food and clean their plates whenever we go there.  Yes, we also embarrassed him greatly by having everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to him.

Not sure how it's possible that I have a 10 year old.  Have I really been out of college that long? I guess so.

Love you madly Cooper.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sophie Kate's Therapy

We are pretty busy with Sophie Kate's therapy these days.  We are going downtown to Children's Hospital for vitalstim therapy (her swallowing therapy) 3 days a week and then on one or two of those days we see some of her other therapists while we're down there.

I thought it might be fun for y'all to see some of the things Sophie Kate is doing in therapy.  These videos were taken with SK's physical therapist and her speech therapist.

The next video has always been one of SK's absolutely favorite things to do in therapy, it has always brought out her biggest smiles...I think you'll see why.

These sweet girls along with one other therapist have worked with SK since she was 3 months old through Alabama's Early Intervention Program.  They have seen me through some extremely difficult days and have had a hand in helping SK get to where she is today.  These therapists will only be seeing Sophie Kate until she is 3 years old which is just around the corner.  They may not be providing her therapy services after November 3rd but they will always be our friends.  Thanks girls.

Thanks for checking in on us, have a great weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Sleeping Baby

I have said it before both to myself and out loud to others..."She looks so "normal" when she is sleeping."

I would gaze at my baby girl and think to myself, "How can this be? Look at her she is so beautiful, she looks so normal.  How can this be happening?"

I have longed for/wanted her to be a certain way for so long.  I have wished it, prayed for it and willed it, but I have done her a disservice in doing so.  She is not a "typical" child...which begs the question...which one of our children are "normal or typical?"  Each one of them are unique and extraordinary, blessings to be loved and cared for unconditionally.  There is nothing "typical" or "normal" about any one of them.  

This gradual change in perspective can only come with time, it doesn't come easy and can only come as a result of the tender molding and weaving of the Holy Spirit at work in us.  It is only by His hand that we are not only living but thriving through these circumstances.  God's gentleness in dealing with me has chipped away at my hurt and anger over time.  The pain I thought I would live with for the rest of my life has been eased by God's persistence in pursuing me and His unending love for me and my family. 

God has known for a long time how beautiful and special SK is whether she is like all the other children or not.  Praise be to Him for not giving up on me and allowing me to see her for who she is and to be a small part of such an incredible life.

Psalm 116:7-8 "I said to myself, "Relax and rest.  God has showered you with blessings.  Soul, you've been rescued from death; Eye, you've been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling." (The Message)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Creek

We have been spending some time lately at "the creek" near our house.  It is actually part of the Cahaba River, but seeing as how it only comes up to my boys knees we have deemed it only worthy of creek status.  However, my husband so lovingly informed me, the Mississippi River starts off in much the same way waaay up north as little more than a creek as well.  For our purposes though we will still be calling it "the creek."

I actually caught Jacob falling in, those rocks can be very slippery.

Daddy's not going to let "little bit" stay behind. 

She went everywhere those boys went.

There was lots to do...

and lots of adventures to go on...

There is no end to the fascination and wonder that this place holds for my boys.  They played, discovered and bonded over sticks, rocks and even crayfish. Yes, they were catching these little things in their buckets and then letting them go.  Jacob and Grey kept calling them lobsters and after seeing the size of a few of them I am inclined to agree with them.  They did look like little lobsters so we went with it.  

The afternoons and evenings we spent at the creek have been mild and very comfortable.  Sometimes Sophie Kate preferred this spot over the backpack carrier.

I'm with ya on that one sister!

How we have not discovered this place in our own backyard before now is beyond me.  I mean we always knew it was there we just never got down and "wallered" (from the root word wallow with a bit of a southern twang added in for good measure) in it's goodness until now.  

It is no easy task getting this group together for even the simplest of outings...the feeding pump, snacks and water bottles oh my, but this is part of our "no sitting on the sidelines" initiative.  This is it, this is their childhood.  We will not get a second chance at this.  They will never be these ages again 9, 8, 4, and 2.  
I can fret over my dirty house and think about all the "stuff" I could/should be doing there...laundry, cleaning, more laundry, dusting, straightening things up, oh and more laundry (there seems to be a recurring theme here) or I can go out and experience life with my family.  All that other stuff will always be at home waiting on me, they on the other hand will not.

They have to know how much they are loved everyday, how much we enjoy spending time with them, how special they are to us and to their Creator.  I can't think of a better way to do that than to be in God's creation, to slow down and take a step back.  A step back from video games and TV, computers and cleaning and to just be in the moment...cause these moments won't last forever.

2 Peter 3:18 "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen."

Thanks for checking in on us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Football Weekend

Good thing we're a football lovin' family, b/c we were all up in it on Saturday.  Here's how it all went down...we watched our boys play flag football from 7:30 (yes that's am) until 12:30pm and then from 12:30pm until sometime around 10:30pm, not sure exactly b/c I feel asleep, we were watching college football.  Like I said, good thing we love our football around here. 

Getting some direction from the coach...

and this was how Grey spent part of his morning...

Here is Sophie Kate ready to head out to her brother's football games...

Thank goodness she loves football just as much as we do, she was an absolute doll.

  Then on Sunday after church we cheered on our Colts.

We've waited 8 long months now all is right with the world again.  There is football played in our backyard, football played out on the field and football on the TV.  We are looking forward to the crisp cool fall air that will be making it's way down south soon.

Glad you're on board SK the season is just beginning.  I'm thankful for weekends spent with my family doing the things we love.  There's no where else I'd rather be than with these crazy boys, my sweet baby girl and my best friend.  It was a good weekend.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Bob is Back

Miss Sassy is definitely feeling her "sassyness" these days... 

 and why shouldn't she...I mean beauty shop day is always a feel good day in girl world.

 And when you come out lookin' this cute why not smile about it...

I think she's almost as happy as I am that the bob is back.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Am the Child

This was shared by one of Sophie Kate's friends and I thought it was worthy of a repost.

(Author Unknown)

I am the child who cannot talk.
You often pity me, I see it in your eyes.
You wonder how much I am aware of -- I see that as well.
I am aware of much, whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty by me.
I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.

You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times.
I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated.
I do not give you answers to your everyday questions,
responses over my well-being, sharing my needs,
or comments about the world about me.
I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards -- great strides in development that you can credit yourself;
I do not give you understanding as you know it.

What I give you is so much more valuable -- I give you instead opportunities.
Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine;
the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities;
the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible.
I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder,
seeking answers to your many questions with no answers.
I am the child who cannot talk.

I am the child who cannot walk.
The world seems to pass me by.
You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children.
There is much you take for granted.
I want the toys on the shelf, I need to go to the bathroom, oh I've dropped my fork again.
I am dependent on you in these ways.
My gift to you is to make you more aware of your great fortune,
your healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself.
Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them.
I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright,
to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent.
I give you awareness.
I am the child who cannot walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired.
I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick,
what I do know is infinite joy in simple things.
I am not burdened as you are with the strife's and conflicts of a more complicated life.
My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child,
to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love.
I give you the gift of simplicity.
I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child.
I am your teacher. If you allow me,
I will teach you what is really important in life.
I will give you and teach you unconditional love.
I gift you with my innocent trust, my dependency upon you.
I teach you about how precious this life is and about not taking things for granted.
I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams.
I teach you giving.
Most of all I teach you hope and faith.
I am the disabled child.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is she like this all the time?

"Is she like this all the time?"...I've been asked this question quite a bit lately.  What do you mean? 

Like this?

Like this?

Or like this?

Well, the answer to all of these questions is "Yes!"  Yes, she is like this all the time.  From the time I get her out of her bed to greet the morning to the time we place her back in that very same bed for a night of restful, peaceful sleep, she is like this.  An absolutely happy smiley life lovin' two year old.  Whether she is being fed, laying down, sitting up or even right after a nap (like in the picture below) she is smiling and happy.

What a beautiful, gentle, tender influence she is on our hearts.  Being able to experience life like this with her has created a slow mending in our broken hearts over the past few months. 

She is a quite but strong presence in our house that can be felt the minute you walk through the front door.  It can be felt when she locks eyes with you even if it is for only the briefest of moments and it is seen through a smile so bright and warm that it literally lights up the world around her.