Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sometimes there are no words—just heartache

I read my blogs and Facebook posts and the writers share their stories of themselves, their families and their thoughts about life in general.  You start following their stories and suddenly you feel like you are part of their lives.  And you are in a sense.  Friendships for me have developed just through the written word.  Sometimes I find their blogs because someone linked it in their post, sometimes I see them link it from Facebook or just word of mouth.  I have been following and praying daily for two Facebook friends and their children who have been in crisis recently.  I just read heartbreaking news about both of them back to back.  And sometimes all you can do is cry and ask why. 

This was the title of the blog post over at Shannon’s blog—The post in which my heart breaks.  You can visit Shannon over at Little Wonders.  To understand the reason for the post is to go back and read her story.  She has been trying to adopt Ethan.  He is medically fragile and needs this family.  Today she found out he is being transferred to another hospital.  She is losing the boy she has fought to adopt, the boy she has advocated for, her heart.  I can’t understand these things.  I again ask God why.  Why does he go away from the family who loves him and wants him?  What happens when he is transferred away?  This little boy has spent so much of his life in the hospital and with this family who wanted him from the first moment they saw him—he is being taken away from them.  I ask that you lift Shannon, Ethan and her family up in prayers during this difficult time.  She has an amazing faith despite all the doubts, fears and heartache. 

The other post I read tonight was Stephanie’s.  Her daughter Iris had open heart surgery recently and has been battling some big complications in the past few weeks.  Her post on Facebook was this:  Iris had a very rough morning today~she went into a Pulmonary Hypertension Crisis~her heart stopped & they had 2 code her & perform compressions on her chest 2 bring her back~they are not sure why this is happened~trying to stabilize her & get her into the cath lab 2 find answers~PLEASE CONTINUE STRONG PRAYERS.  They have recently started a blog.  You can find them here:  Please keep them all of them in prayer and pray for Iris to stabilize. 

This doesn’t even touch the surface of people needing prayers and support.  Sometimes I find my heart just hurts from the heartache of other people’s grief, sadness, despair, and troubles in general.  We are here to do God’s work, to share his love with others.  If I feel this pain, what does he feel?  I have been asking myself so many questions about suffering and why it is allowed.  I have searched for answers and have gotten them, yet I don’t feel a peace over the answers.  Maybe because my human needs are to be selfish and to ask God to stop all this suffering.  That it feels so unnecessary.  But I know that we are not to know all of God’s ways.  I know his people rise time and time again, through despair, sadness, grief and troubled times.  So I continue to look upward and to a promise that remains to this day.  Trust in HIM and he will never fail you. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says--Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 

Philippians 4:6-7 says--- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalms 119:50---My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude and Blessings

gratitude---the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful; blessings---something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity;the bestowal of a divine gift or favor 

As we barrel forward into the month of November, our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and the meaning of that day.  It is said that people began having feasts as early as the 1600’s to give thanks.  (Attributed back to 1621 in Plymouth.)  A lady by the name of Sarah Hale promoted the idea of a national day set aside for giving thanks back in the 1800’s.  She spent many years trying to persuade Presidents to observe this day.  In 1863 Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a national holiday.  This would be observed by following Presidents until 1941 when Congress finally made it a permanent holiday to observe.  Thanksgiving was observed to give thanks for the harvest of the year.  Today Thanksgiving holds a lot of different meanings for different people nowadays, although we should be grateful for the farmers who bring in the harvest every year.  Without them, we wouldn’t have any food on the table.  It is the kickoff to the Christmas season, great shopping deals on black Friday, football, stuffing your face with an enormous amount of food, traveling, long weekends off from work, and time spent with extended family and friends.  I count Thanksgiving as one of the greatest holidays we celebrate. 

It is a time to reflect and to give thanks to God for all that I have.  It is so easy to complain and think of the things you don’t have in life or the things others have that you are lacking.  Are you lacking a bed to sleep in?  A roof over your head?  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat?  What about a job?  A car to drive around in?  TV to watch?  The computer to surf the Internet?  A smart phone so that you don’t miss a single tweet?  Take a vacation or mini vacation every year?   Some of these things are things we take for granted.  You come home to your house and you wish you had a bigger one or a newer one?  Be thankful that you are safe from the elements in your home.  Be thankful you know where you are going when you come home for the night.  What about your car?  Too many miles on it for you?  Doesn’t have a navigation system in it?  Well, be grateful you have a motor and four tires.   A job that you can’t stand?  100 other people are waiting for you to quit it to take your place.  In America, we have so many “things” that we just take for granted.  These are really things to be extremely grateful for.  I could be somewhere riding a donkey to get from point a to b—somewhere tonight a donkey is thanking God that I have a car!  I could be homeless and hungry looking for a job.  I am blessed and grateful.

What about the things such as parents who loved and nurtured you instead of belittling you and neglecting you?  What about a spouse who adores you and loves to see you every evening instead of one who takes you for granted?  How about the freedom to walk around outside your house without hiding your face because you are a woman and are not valued?  What about when you walk outside at night and your silence mingled with the crickets and frogs?  Some people are listening to bombs and living in fear.  We live in this great nation of ours with so much freedom because of the men and women who continue to serve and uphold our freedoms.   I am blessed and grateful.

Did you know that there are over 925 million people going hungry in the world?  Our Earth just reached the distinction of having 7 Billion people inhabiting it currently.  So almost 1 Billion of those people are starving.  How can this be?  1 in 7 people are starving.  They are in our towns, cities, and states, not to mention the untold millions around the world.  Do you remember to be thankful when you eat a meal?  Do you ever think how much food we waste and how so many people would be thankful to eat our leftovers—even out of the trash.  I am blessed and grateful.

Do you have your children with you?  Can you love on them and hug them?  What about your parents?  Your extended family?  Your friends?  So many people are hurting tonight.  They are lonely.  They are missing important people.  They feel empty.  Do you take the time to tell those you love the most how important they are to you?  How much they mean to you?  Have you reached out a hand to those struggling?  Don’t avoid them—it only hurts you.  Be grateful that God put you here to minister to those needing love and attention.  You can never tell someone enough how much they mean to you.  I am blessed and grateful.

There is so much to be thankful for in this life.  Every day during the month of November I am posting on Facebook something I am thankful for.  I thank God for the little things, the great big things and everything in between.  Even when you think there is nothing to be thankful for, remember something or someone that made you happy or made your day, even if it happened 10 years ago!  Be thankful for those memories.  Try blessing someone if you don’t feel blessed.  Your heart and soul will thank you.  I am blessed and grateful.  What about you?

Blessings by Laura Story

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Felt weird not blogging last night

It was weird not blogging last night, but so nice to get to bed at 10 too.  I really want to thank everyone who did take the time to come and check me out at my blog this past month. I had 1250 views for the month, which I think is wonderful considering that in the past year since I started blogging, I had 1750 views for the entire year.  I blogged 31 times in 2010 and 30 of those days were during this exact same challenge in October.  I have posted a few times since last October, but I couldn’t stay consistent with it.  I know 1250 is probably what some people get in a hour, but I am perfectly happy that I did have a few people reading.  I don’t know what my future holds concerning me blogging on a regular basis, but I will give it another go.   I guess if you write it...they will come? Corny I know, but who doesn't love Field of Dreams? And if you haven't seen the movie, then you definitely won't know what I mean about the write and they will come line.

So, my Halloween night didn't turn out quite how I expected. I rushed home to find that Blake's Toy Story army man costume shipped to us in an adult XL----perfect for Kiley, not so great for Blake. A last minute run to Wal-mart and Superman he was.



My child who argues every year about what his costume can and can’t be.  This year he wanted to be something I had never heard of as a character—Smart A@#!!  I am pretty sure he wanted to be that so when everyone asked him who he was, he could say those two words!  Negative boy!  When will you learn?  His second choice was fine and I even like this one too.  They grow up way too fast!


My sweet Katie has had a cough for a couple of weeks and it has only gotten worse in the past week. When she didn't get out of the bed Sat, I knew that she was feeling worse than it seemed with just the cough. Her temp was low grade, never got above 100, but she didn't want to eat either. Halloween night she started whining as soon as I put her costume on her and I knew that she wasn't going anywhere. I took the costume off after having it on her for 5 minutes. She went to bed and that was the extent of her night.



My bug not feeling well at all.  Her costume was so cute that I will put her back in it just to take some pictures of her standing up in it.

We had a great time taking my cousin out trick or treating. I use to take my other cousins out, but they have all grown up and now we just have one or two to make the rounds with. So, a few of us walked around the neighborhood near my parents' home and we watched Abrianna enjoy herself getting her treats. After we had walked a couple of miles, we went back to my dads, got the truck and then went out for the last hour riding to houses that way. The houses are farther apart in my parents' neighborhood, so it was quicker to ride in the truck.


My cousin Abranna enjoying herself as Batgirl!

There is always controversial beliefs about this day and especially with the Christian believers.  I grew up only to see Halloween as a night to get out and get candy from your neighbors.  That was it.  It was a dress up night with lots of candy involved and socializing with your friends.  Nothing more.  Of course it wasn’t until I was grown that the whole idea of evil and celebrating the devil and stuff such as this was told to me.  We have alternative plans for this day  in the Baptist religion such as fall festivals which I think are wonderful and I enjoy those too.   I don’t want to hide behind a mask of pretending that I don’t allow my children to get dressed up and go trick or treating.  I am certainly not celebrating the devil and I just want the innocence of what I had as a child to be passed on to my children.  Of course this day and age finds much of their innocence stripped from them at such an early age.  I will tell you that I saw more people out and about on this one night then a whole year combined.  It was fun to speak to everyone and admire costumes and just remember that this was what being neighbors meant.  It is a shame that I am so busy, that I am never out in my own neighborhood!  Maybe we should start something called Meet and Treat once a month.  It would be a way for all the neighbors to come around and get to know each other.  I might be on to something here!  Anyway, I enjoyed this as a child and if my children want to enjoy it, then I want to let them.  They can make their own minds up about it when they are older. 


Isn’t he cute? 

So, I posted the other night about getting stuck in the ditch.  That was a lot of fun! Not!  Triple A showed up exactly to the hour when they said they would and at 11:15 we were trying to get my car out of the ditch.  The guy trying to tow my truck out of the ditch couldn’t do it without my help.  The car was that stuck.  The left front tire has a huge slash where the culvert just ate it up.  He didn’t think I should just put the spare on because he had a hard time getting the car out and he was worried that I tore something loose under the hood.  He towed my car to the shop for me and everything checked out fine.  I will get 2 new tires later this week and my car will be like new money next week!  Very eventful night for sure.  As I was snapping pictures on my phone, I told him I had to have these pictures to blog about.  He thought that was cool.  Wonder what he would have thought if I had asked him to step into the pictures? 


The car hung up on the culvert with my tire slashed and flat and the car getting towed away. 

I had to take Katie to the doctor yesterday as she was still acting like she did over the weekend, which was miserable.   Strep throat was the diagnosis.  First time she has had this.  She is still pretty miserable.  Her cough is so wet and poor thing doesn’t have any clue about coughing it up and out, but her lungs sounded clear and her ears are fine.  Antibiotics for 10 days.  No joy in that for her.  We had to wrap her in a towel and hold her down to get her to take the medicine.  I hate doing that to her, but I can’t take a chance on her not getting these antibiotics in, especially with her heart condition.  My little munchkin took some cough medicine tonight (first time for this too) that the doctor prescribed since she was coughing non-stop and she will stay home for the 3rd day in a row tomorrow.  The doctor said that strep was running rampant right now and we have already had several cases of the flu as early as the beginning of Sept this year.  I am hoping that tomorrow little bug will start to feel better so that she can get back to school. 

The 31 for 21 challenge was a lot easier for me this year than last year.  I only started floundering towards the end and I can safely say that I only had one day that I would consider a cop out post with 3 sentences to it.  Why did I feel so strongly about finishing this challenge?  Well, for one it honored my daughter and those living with Down syndrome.  It is a way for me to share with people who have no clue of what it is like living with special needs.  It is a way for me to meet new people who are sharing my same experiences.  It was to tell the world that my little girl is amazing because from the moment she took her first breath outside my womb, she was fighting for her chance to be here in this world.  I feel we are here on this Earth for two reasons-one to share the love of Christ and to honor him and the other is to honor and love each other.  Every moment is a gift.  I see that everyday in the work I do and from the people I interact with.  At any given time, I have friends whose children are medically fragile and yet they continue to amaze me with everything that they do with their lives and their children.  If I could help one mom out there who is struggling with a decision on whether or not they should keep their child with Down syndrome, then I have done more than I could have ever imagined with these words from the past month.  It really is more than just awareness of Down syndrome for me, it is awareness of life, of living in the moment and being grateful for all that you have, including a little extra 21st chromosome. 

This has been going around Facebook and I love it, so I leave it with you all.

When you were but a tiny speck deep within my womb, something happened to your cells as life began to bloom. A 'chromosomal abnormality' is what the doctors say, but you are EXACTLY what I asked for each night as I would pray: "Dear Lord, send me a happy child who will not grow up too fast, (for I love the joys of childhood & I wanted that to last) send me a child who sleeps all night & doesn't often cry, a little girl with endless love & a willingness to try." That little extra chromosome, that number 21, gave me all I ever wanted, YOU, my precious one! Happy Down syndrome awareness month! I love you Kaitlyn (Katie bug) Brooke...... JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

Monday, October 31, 2011

31 for 21: Last day!

I didn't envision my last post of this challenge coming from my phone, but when you are stuck in a ditch with a flat tire, you make do with what you have. Waiting on the tow guy from triple a to get here when I should be hitting the bed. Oh well. That's life. What I loved about triple a was when I called them, the first thing they asked me was if I was safe. So thank you Lord--I am safe.

I had a simple post thought out for tonight-kind of like some closing remarks about this challenge, but I will save them for Wednesday. Might blog tomorrow, but highly unlikely since I am exhausted!

Bug is not feeling well at all. She was very fussy this afternoon when I got home. I tried to put her in her costume, but she was very unhappy. I didn't even get a picture of her standing in her outfit because she was miserable. I guess I tried because it was what I wanted, not what was in her best interest. Trying to make a moment happen that was not meant to be. I took her outfit off and that was the extent of her Halloween. She will feel better another day and we will try again for pictures. If not, we can just buy a new costume and try again next year. I just want my bug to feel better.

Blake wanted to dress up this year, but he wanted to be something inappropriate. I have always had this clash of the minds with him over costumes. I don't care for the scary type costumes--he always wants to be one of those. We have always settled for great outfits like Buzz Lightyear, Batman, and Tigger. His second choice was the army man from Toy Story. The outfit that came in the mail was an adult xl. So, we end up at Walmart today and he became Superman. We both liked the outfit, so I was happy that in the end he got to be something he liked and I got another "cute" costume out of him. Maybe we won't have a battle next year--yeah,as if it could be that easy!

I am hoping that the guy gets here soon and gets my car out of the ditch so I can go home! Happy Halloween! I guess I got a trick instead of a treat this year! Oh well, I could have gotten a bag of rocks. Such is life....

31 for 21: Day 30—Almost there, Q is for Quotes

I love quotes, Bible verses, and almost anything that packs a punch with a few words. I find inspiration in many different places. Sometimes it is in someone’s signature line with their e-mail, sometimes it is a saying on a mug or picture, they are all over my Facebook wall, and they even have good one’s in my Dove chocolate candy wrappers. My favorite Dove one has to be the one at my desk at work: Chocolate therapy—oh so good! True words for sure! Good one Dove candy wrapper inspiration team! I know that had to come from a woman—I haven’t really seen many men go nuts for chocolate. I love quotes from famous people such as Abraham Lincoln, Mother Teresa, and Eleanor Roosevelt to name some of my favorites. I find inspiring words on Facebook pages such as Hopelights and An Angels Love. My love of quotes can be found just about anywhere. On logos, in magazines, favorite passages in books, in cards and gift shops. Chances are you usually see a quote when I am writing too. I just thought I would share with you some of the quotes around my house.
Can’t remember where this came from, but it is a magnet that hangs on my fridge.
Books such as these have a lot of inspiring words in them. Book on the left has great pictures to go with the great words.
These hangs in the kitchen.

This hangs in Kaitlyn’s room.

These are on Katie’s hutch. Please note that yes there is that much dust on her curio! Embarrassing, but this is real life here. Good thing Katie doesn’t sleep in her room—she would have some serious allergies!

This is a quote I painted on her wall after we came home from the NICU. I put the vinyl words up, taped off the the rectangle shape, painted inside the square and when the paint was dry, pulled off the vinyl words. Her wooden letters came from eBay. They were painted to match her bedding set.
Another plaque in Katie’s room.

I keep this in the kitchen where I drop all my junk when I come home. I like to look at it everyday to be reminded that life is a miracle and a gift.

I do have many more items such as these around the house, in my journals, and bookmarked on my computer. I guess I like to be uplifted by encouraging words and sayings. I love captions with pictures too. I recently found this one on Facebook and I had to share it.


And inspirational Bible verses such as this one.
I believe in these words. I believe in the power of words and the meaning behind the words. Just wanted to share some of what lifts me up. What inspires you?

Tomorrow completes the blogging challenge! I have almost made it! Whew! Katie is going to be a special little bug tomorrow. Will share tomorrow night what she dressed up as. Have to share these two pictures tonight. Love the Peanuts gang and Snoopy is the coolest dog of all time. Period. And this is a nice big tub of candy I will put on the front porch tomorrow night for the trick or treaters. I know, some of you are saying that someone will come by and dump the whole tub in their bag. So be it. I feel better having it out there whether we are here or not. Kiley bought a ton of candy today. You can’t really see how big the tub is, but it is a nice big stash! Happy Halloween and for those who don’t participate—Happy October 31st!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 for 21: Day 29 Q is for Quiet

Today has been a really nice quiet day for this old girl.  Weekend plans had changed by the middle of this week for us as we had an opportunity to get some tickets for the big Florida/Georgia game today in Jacksonville.  Thanks again Erin!  4 tickets were perfect for the family, but I really don’t think Katie is ready for 85,000 fanatics of football.  So, I elected not to go along with Katie.  Sent the boys off with my dad and my uncle to the big game today.  Kiley even went out and bought him a Georgia Bulldogs shirt and when he put it on this morning, he said it pained him to wear it.  He should have just worn his LSU or Kentucky gear.  The fans would have taken pity on him (Kentucky) or been in awe (LSU).  One thing I can say about that boy—he is a die hard fan, never wavers regardless of what his teams do and has been that way since the day I met him.  Of course Blake is a die hard Gator fan.  I don’t remember when he really started liking the Gators, but he wore his colors proudly today.  For the record—Georgia won 24-20.  Blake sent this message out earlier---“At the Georgia/Florida game, surrounded by red, and probably some drunks. Like seriously there’s this dude in no shirt, his body is painted red and he has some messed up shoulder pads on with a Viking helmet.”  Gotta love your kids!  So before they left this morning I snapped a few pictures. 


Kiley wearing a Bulldog shirt—probably first and last time that is happening!  Blake in his Gator shirt and Katie in her Kentucky cheerleading outfit.

Daddy, do I have to wear this outfit?  You know this isn’t my team!

Katie and I just stayed home and relaxed.  Katie is not feeling well actually and stayed in bed all day today.  She has had a nasty cough and it just seems to keep hanging on.  She wouldn’t eat until tonight, so I am hoping that this doesn’t get any worse.  She has been eating and drinking fine until today, so I am thinking that she just needed a day for her body to rest.  Praying that this doesn’t turn into anything worse!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 for 21: Day 28 The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Today was character day at Katie’s school.  Katie’s class dressed up as part of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

 Ok, I took this image from if you couldn’t tell!  Thanks Amazon!  I love Amazon too.


I have to admit, I have never read this book.  I knew it was a classic, but it had not been a book that I had ever picked up before to even glance at it.  I was at the store the other day and I did read the book once I knew that was what we were going to do as a class project.  Very cute book and I will have to get it for Katie as a Christmas gift.  I will write in it and tell her a story about her class and this day on the inside cover. 

So, I am not at all a crafty person.  I love crafts, but they are always bought.  The only thing that I have ever really gotten into is scrapbooking.  Now I keep pinning all these pins over on Pinterest with the great hopes that I will do some of these crafts!  It doesn’t matter if I don’t.  I like looking at them all regardless.  Now I have made a few food items from there and I can’t wait to try some more of the recipes I have gathered.  Anyway,  back to this story….

The paper came home with a list of possible suggestions on what Katie could be out of the book.  A leaf, a strawberry, a watermelon, an ice cream cone, a cake, an apple and the cupcake which she was,  along with a few other things I can’t remember.  I told Kiley we had to do the ice cream cone or the cupcake.  I googled images of homemade costumes thinking how am I going to come up with an outfit!  Not this un-crafty girl.  But….the debacle over my son many years back in kindergarten not dressing up for the Fairy Tale ball or  something like that still lingers with this momma.  I  will have to you the story about this someday, along with a few others….like the time I forgot to pick up Blake on the last day of school that same year as the fairy tale ball and the school calls me.  As soon as I hear my name on the overhead hospital paging system, I jumped up from my cafeteria chair and ran out of the hospital!  I knew what I had done right at that moment.  Needless to say, he was the last child there.  How embarrassing!  Oh well….stories of a failed momma another night.  Back to this story…..

I went to work and told a few people what I was going to try to do this past weekend (make a costume) because I was looking for some suggestions on how to do the costume.  Well, I am saved that night.  My friend sends me a message that they have cupcake costumes on sale at Old Navy for the grand total of $12.50!  I knew what I was going to do first thing in the morning!  And VIOLA!  The cupcake she was, courtesy of Old Navy.  Now, I would have loved to have made some of the outfits I saw such as these, but I happily took the easy way out. 


I got home this evening and I see that Katie’s teacher has posted a video.  I copied all of these images from her video, so thank you Mrs. Amy.  I can’t tell you how much I love her teachers and their para pros.  I can tell they genuinely love our kids. 



Katie looking so cute sitting with the scarecrow earlier in the week.

 image Watching with a little skepticism in her eyes as another child is getting his hands dirty.


imageimageimageKatie looks like she didn’t really like this. Her faces is saying yuck!  Good sensory stimulation Katie—I love your hands in this!



imageMrs. Marge is the apple, Mrs. Amy is the caterpillar, and Mrs. Cathy is the watermelon.  Now they are crafty!



A picture of the class today.  Please excuse the red blurs, but I do not want these children’s faces posted without their parents permission. 


Going for a class walk.  Not sure where to, but of course they needed to parade themselves around.  They are too cute not to let everyone see their handiwork.  



I just met this little boy on the left a few weeks ago.  Very sweet.  The one in the middle is wonderful with Katie.  He loves her and I love when he says her name. 


It looks like they played some great games too!



I would say my bug had a wonderful time these last few days!  What a wonderful story that came to life today for The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Note to self, why did you get the 2t-3t costume when you know she wears 4t and it was available for purchase!? Duh! The cupcake liner kept riding up on Katie---momma thinks you were adorable regardless.

Gearing up for a nice, relaxing weekend as we go into the final days of October.  Other things were planned, but a great offer came up, so plans were changed and we are relaxing.  I’ll share those details later.