Sunday, December 11, 2016

Triumph

Thankful to see how God is using us for something bigger than ourselves. Thankful that He is taking our story and transforming it from death, illness, loss and suffering to one that reflects the beauty of God. Redemption is at work. The process is happening. When I look at these two pictures of Samuel I can't help but be amazed that God has not left us where we were... that He is taking us through life and through the struggles and creating in us a strength and compassion that allows us to love and serve others. We were made for more... Another C.S. Lewis quote I love comes to mind: 

"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Life with Boys

I never knew this life would be so full of wonder, and noise and confusion and loud. I never how much I would be tumbled upon and above and under. swinging of arms and legs. ninja chops. Ducking blows. Hanging on my arms around my elbows.

I never knew how my heart would be so full. Of tender whispers. And deafening yells. Cries of indignation. and joy. Noises of all kinds. Burps... and "bottom burps" and all sorts of disgusting noises that I can't put into words. Shouts of triumph. Laughter over flatulence. Silly jokes. Boisterous cacophony.

Wiping tears. Wiping bottoms. Scraped knees. Paper cuts. Splinters. First Aid kit... in the car, at home, in my purse. Doctor's office. X-ray. Splint. Referral to specialist.

Eyes eager to please. Flash of anger. Spark of Curiosity.  Quick obedience or reluctant dragging of feet.

In my washing machine and dryer I find rocks, and pebbles. Sand. Legos.
On the floor is dirt and dust and cereal along with a plethora of pieces of randomness... boardgame piece, magformer, rubber band, star wars figurine.

 Full of motion. Swinging. Climbing. Digging. Burying. Unearthing. exploring.

Change, change, change. Change of clothes, again. Change of attitude. Change of expectations.

A life never dull.

Flexibility always required.

Wouldn't change it for anything.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Peter- 6 years!




Six years ago I gave birth to my 5th baby. Samuel, age 4, was getting treatment for cancer at the neighboring children's hospital. The twins were 2 and Libby had just turned 6. I was technically on "bedrest" due to prior early term labor issues.

Peter was ushered on to the scene November 7th and brought tremendous joy. In the midst of deep trial and heartache hear came this lump of love. It was a reminder of God's tremendous love for us... and a cause for hope.

I am so thankful to God for each child that I have been given. And I'm thankful that His timing is perfect. That He knows what we need for each moment. And He knew that Peter was needed for such a time as this.

I still remember nursing Peter on the bed and holding a puke bucket for Samuel to throw up in. I was holding new life in my arms and sitting next to a child who was incredibly sick, for all purposes dying.

I still marvel at the miracles God has done in Samuel. I'm amazed that he is alive and thriving... what a gift. And I also am so incredibly grateful that God brought incredibly joy in the midst of such difficult circumstances.

I have loved seeing the boy that Peter has become: funny, sweet and tender-hearted. He had genuine tears yesterday for accidentally hurting someone at church yesterday. He's having to learn his own power and strength... but I'm thankful that although built sturdy his heart and nature is gentle, like his Papa's.

Happy Birthday Peter Joel! We love you and are so thankful that God gifted us with you!!!


Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

“Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.” (Psalm 148:1-6)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Beware the white whale...

"'Whosoever of ye raises me a white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw; whosoever of ye raises me that white-headed whale, with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke- look you, whosoever of ye raises me that same white whale, he shall have this gold ounce, my boys!'" ~ Moby Dick

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Lyrics of my Life.

Settle down. Gather round children. Come to the table and color as we listen to words spoken aloud. Words that transport us to another place, another space, another time. And as they calm, poking the play-doh with toothpicks and making impressions with loose change; here a nickel, there a penny, the words saturate in their brains, the images coming to life. Each one's head filled with a different picture. 

I gather and sigh and breathe.  I pick up my skein and knitting needles and lose myself in the story. Greek and Roman gods. Mythology from a time long past. From a culture whose echoes reverberate into the present. 

The dishes sit in the sink. The laundry complains. It's mountainous avalanche threatening to cascade. But the muffins were delicious and the butter melted on them while they were still warm. 

The sticky faces and dirty hands abscond out the back door until this evenings bath calls to them. Serenading them sweetly with the promises of bubbles and splashing and pretensions of pirate play. 

Though the sweeping was done just hours before, new piles of what-nots litter the floor. Here a cheerio. There a scrap of cardboard and construction paper. The table sticky with glue and glitter. 

The crockpot bubbling merrily filling the air with enticing aromas that will sadly not be savored. Cries of delight or protests of disgust... this is what occurs when there are five children afoot. Alternative PB&J is offered, only if made by the disagreeing party or else to bed... with no food. Make your choice.

The brushing of teeth. The giggling. The scrapes to be bandaged. The late night hours of work and planning. Building dreams. Budgeting means. Creating anew. The joy of parenting. The heartache of this world. The pain of loved ones that are hurting. The scary diagnosis. The unspoken future. 

The soft breath on my cheek as my child slips in my bed under my covers and falls into deep slumber only to awaken me at an early hour. The cold toes that touch me in the night. 

The warmth of blankets pulled high. The smell of coffee freshly ground. The hope that comes from Christ. Exhale. Inhale. Repeat.

Tomorrow has enough worries of it's own, I dare not borrow them for today. Instead I pause and sink in the moment. Capture the memory like a fleeting butterfly. Beautiful but won't last forever. Encapsulate with a picture or allow my brain to open and close like a shutter preserving this moment to be remembered or forgotten at a later time. 

The distant humming of song in the distance. The sound of broken glass for the 4th time in 24 hours. The thrumming of the dryer. The wheels continue to churn. Pressing on. 

The wet cloth on the warm forehead. Tender words spoken softly. The soup warmed. The tears wiped. 

They bounce back. Eyes bright. Bounding outdoors. Seeking adventures. More stories to be made and then told. The mischief managed. The lion tamed. The alligator caught. 

And dark turns to light... the morning comes with all it's promises hovering on the horizon. The hope of a new day. The promise of a clean slate. The reminder that all is being made new. And as my tea steeps in my favorite cup I ponder my life and think... I am blessed. The darkness has not overcome me. My strength is in the Lord. This day will be surrendered to the One who knows all the days. And I breathe in... and I breathe out.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Cancer and our friend Coleson

I had the honor and privilege of attending camp at Joni and Friends this summer in North Carolina. It was an amazing time that was a tremendous respite and refreshment for our family. One of the highlights for us was getting to know our short term missionaries who served as one-on-one assistants for Michael and Samuel. What was so special is that they are brothers! And in fact their Mom and other brother was at camp.

Cade and Coleson spent so much time with Michael and Samuel. I was so amazed to see these boys so selflessly give of themselves. And not only did they care for the kids that had special needs but they played and helped us with all of our fabulous 5.

Samuel and Coleson

One of the things that struck me was the special bond I could see between Cade and Coleson. You see  as a young child Coleson was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (“DBA”). DBA is a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, characterized by a failure of the bone marrow (the center of the bone where blood cells are made) to produce red blood cells. This failure causes DBApatients to become severely anemic.

And the beautiful thing is his older brother Cade was his donor. These guys are amazing, talented sweet guys.

They were servant hearted and worked tirelessly to give Mike and I breaks. They did incredible things like climbing up humungous rock walls and zip lining with our boys. Cade even ended up participating in Michael's portion of the Talent Show. It was such an epic night for us. 

Their act of serving us gave me excitement that maybe one day my family in turn could be a blessing to others. That we would be able to extend ourselves to bless others with special needs.

So the rest of the summer flew by in a whirlwind and I was not up to date with the Shaw family until recently when on Facebook I heard some very difficult news. Our friend Coleson has cancer. He actually has the same cancer Samuel was diagnosed with, rhabdomyosarcoma.

So I ask all of you to be praying for Coleson and the whole Shaw family as they go through this treatment with him.

I know it is not a coincidence that God put this family and ours in the same place and the same time. My heart breaks for them as I know the difficult journey that lies ahead. I also know that this family loves Jesus and knows Him personally. Their faith is incredible.

Jesus please strengthen Coleson. Protect him during his chemo treatments. Shrink the tumor in his pelvic region. Help him bear and manage the pain. Give him favor with doctors and staff. help him adjust to this new "normal" that will affect so many aspects of his life. Provide and meet every physical, spiritual, emotional, mental and financial need that they have. Give comfort and encouragement and rest and peace in spite of such turbulent times. Favor them with friends and support and love and comfort. Lord, heal our friend Coleson. Thank you that you love him and have promised to never leave or forsake him. Comfort and strengthen him and his family. In your Name Jesus we pray, Amen.