Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Silliness.

Binocular Boy.
There's Samuel.
2 of a kind.
Cut from the same cloth.
Ian. A quiet moment.
Life is better when you wear a backpack.
I love my children. Their creativity. Their joy. Their loud boisterous noise. They are so full of life. Michael was unfortunately napping during this particular photo shoot. My kids are wonderful, brilliant, intelligent, beautiful, loud, loving, crazy, joyful, & patient with their mother :)



Aren't these flowers gorgeous? I couldn't resist putting a picture of this in. My mother in love gave me these for my Anniversary. I love flowers!

Monday, September 28, 2009

When Satan Tempts Me to Despair...

When Satan Tempts Me to Despair,
And Tells Me of the Guilt Within,
Upward I look and See Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is Satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
To look on Him and pardon me!

(from Before the Throne of God Above)

I need pardoning daily. How about you? I know I've been tempted to despair. Deep, dark despair desires to drag me into it's claws... or should I say Satan is seeking to devour me. Wanting to kill. Destroy. Steal.

Oh Christ, You are my only hope. My only chance. My only hope of rescue from myself. From the darkness of my mind. From my overwhelming circumstances. Keep my head above the water. Bring this dead man back to life. Thank you that you hold me in the palm of your hand. My rest comes from you. My joy comes from you. My strength comes from you. You are the only thing I know I have. The only thing that can't be taken away. The only Truth. The only Way.

I can't do it all. In fact I can do nothing apart from Him.

This too shall pass. These circumstances and particular set of trials. But He remains forever. Alpha and Omega. with no end. You are so worthy of my worship and praise. I surrender all to you again. Thanks for the hope I have in Christ. Thanks for your perfection. Your work is not done in me... but your work is complete in Christ. Thanks for your perfect life, death, resurrection and ascension. Thank you that I have not given into the dark thoughts that desire to consume me. May my mind be fixed on you. Fixed on your perfect peace. Your perfect ways.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life lately.

CAUTION: Do not be overwhelmed by reading this. Remember this is what I have to do, not you :) wink, wink.

Sick kids. Coughing. Breathing treatments. inhalers. Missing church.

Needing to make appts. with dentists, pulmonlogists, GI, neurologist, wheel-chair clinic, audiologist, service worker, opthamologist, GI clinic, inspection for suburban, oh and an appointment to BREATHE :)

Doctors every week.

Kids at school. Loving it.

Driving- taking kids to school, picking kids-up. Running errands. Grocery shopping. Gas for the car.

Dishes. Laundry. Diapers. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Clean a bathroom. Sweep the floor 3x daily.

Remember to eat lunch.

Spray-paint outdoor pots. Insert mums.

Spray paint purple wreath orange. Weed garden.

Buy children pumpkins. Decorate.

Fun things: replanting my pumpkin plants (grew them from seeds), spending time with my cousin Emily, helping my mom with teaching stuff, buying mums and a couple pansies, finishing the front walk-way, new welcome home flag, Michael improving in physical strength, teaching a friend to knit, comedy night tomorrow with my friend Debi, snuggles with Samuel on Monday, praying with my kids, not over-eating this week, finished reading 2 books, organized all the kids medical/school info. in separate binders, took kids to play at the indoor play place in the mall, took them to chick-fil-a to play, bought a make your hair shiny treatment at home (ON SALE), found clothes for kids at thrift store on WED. when clothes are half off! took Libby to breakfast for a date (first time in months-yay for coupons!), made some cards, cleaned my office desk, went on a walk with all 4 kids all around the property. My friend Debi brought me coffee from Starbucks!!!! Saw my friend Michelle who has been out of the country for many weeks. took 3 surveys that gave me a free: chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, card at Hallmark, drink at Starbucks. Lit a candle 3 days in a row. Had dinner ready every night. Made oatmeal raisin pecan chocolate chip cookies. made my own granola. Ate a salad everyday! Got a shark floor vacuum from my mother-in-law, thank you FAFA!Talked to several friends that live in other parts of the country. Received much needed prayer from 2 women group events. Financially blessed with money from dear friends.

Dress up- ballerina, princess, a posh lady, a ladybug.

Ian- getting into everything... pulling out plastic tupperware and cups and rice cookers, and salad spinners and measuring cups and putting sippy cups in the back of random cabinets.

Michael- taking out his medical port and draining his feed onto a bed, or carseat or highchair or carpet. Therapy- physical. Therapy-feeding. Play therapy. Crawling therapy. Standing therapy. Deep-pressure therapy.

Bathtimes. Wash. Re-wash. Overflow the water everywhere. Water on the floor. Water on me. Did i take a bath too? Oh and Samuel left the water running in the bathroom sink... aaaaagggh!

Melt-downs after a fun lunch at Chick-fil-A with grandmas. Ice-cream melting. Kids screaming. Chaos loosing.

Returns needing to be made. Bought the wrong item... thought I was grabbing the item next to it. Bought a sticker album that didn't contain any stickers. Bought glue that would not come out of the hole after the second use!!!

Packing snacks everyday. Reading report from school. Reminders of PTA, fall festivals, pancake breakfasts, etc. Save campbell soup labels, and farm fresh receipts, and educational box top thingies, and certain things to be recycled, etc.

Samuel made "Student of the Month." Not sure what it means but that's cool!

Mike working hard. Tired. Exhausted. On the go.
Not much time to communicate or be alone together.
Me: crying. tired. hormonal. AC is broken upstairs... HOT!

Libby: dancing, twirling, playing star fall on the computer, learning letters. Emotional when it's not perfect.

Libby and Samuel outside dancing in the rain... without telling me what they were going to do.

Samuel eating applesauce without throwing up!!!!

vacuum out van. vacuum out suburban.

Birthday planning for October. A mermaid party. demands for specific presents. certain cake, certain guests. An almost 5 year old who knows exactly what she wants.

Church: worship team, serving 7 years old class, Mike teaching the month of October a class on Intro. to biblical theology.

Keep priorities straight. Reorganize priorities. Eliminate the "extras".

And did I forget to mention? I'm writing a novel. Do you want to read a section????

A confession.

I consider myself a pretty honest person. I'm open and at times forward with how I see life and how things are. But I don't think that's always a good idea. At this moment I'm sick to my stomach. I was stupid. I went online and looked at all the blogs that I wish I could follow... and I feel sick. If you are thinking at this moment, "she hates me. she hates my blog." YOU ARE WRONG! I don't hate anyone. I don't hate anyone's blogs. What is painful is the relative "normalcy" I see people experiencing around me. Normalcy that I thought would be mine. Normalcy of healthy children or limited financial pressures and stresses. I don't see posts on four children under the age of four. Or a child with cerebral palsy. Or feeing tubes. or, or, or, or.....

The temptation is to turn inward and drown myself in sorrow... and allow myself to become isolated and cut off. So, what I'm getting at is the temptation is to be selfish and self-focused. BUT I know the truth. Well, I know many truths. God has placed me where he has me and my boundary lines are in pleasant places. His grace is sufficient for me for His power is made perfect in weakness. AND, I know that OTHER PEOPLE HAVE PROBLEMS, PAINS, TRIALS, DIFFICULTIES, AND SUFFERINGS!!! And more importantly, Jesus Christ knows all and has experienced everything that I have. He knows sorrow and rejection and pain and hurt. In fact He knows what is hurting me more than I do.

I wish I could take a moment to roll around in self-pity like a pig in mud but I know that I need to cry out like in the Psalms... "God get me out of this miry pit. My feet are slipping." I can't get out of this pit alone. I need Christ to intervene. I need rescuing. And it's humbling to once again be reminded that I am so dependent and needy. I need a Savior. But the amazing thing is that I have One! I have the One who came to save me from myself and to restore me to right relationship with God.

Another thing I'm reminding myself is to not take it personally. No one is saying or posting things thinking to themselves, "Aha, this would hurt my friend Jennifer." of course not. Honestly that is dumb to think that way. So where is the line between rejoicing with those who rejoice when you find yourself weeping?

I was explaining to Mike tonight that I have to not allow myself to give into my feelings. I have to cut my "feelings off" right now. If I didn't my sorrow and "depression" would consume me. It would be paralyzing. SO, I take one step in front of the other and do the thing that is in front of me. And look to the next task. The next diaper. The next meal. The next medicine. The next therapy. The next dishes. The next load of laundry.

I see my merciful God. This God who loves me in spite of my comparing to others. A God who loves me in spite of my self-pity and self-centeredness. A God who is compassionate and reminds me of the needs and trials of others. Of others who are facing cancer and their families standing helplessly by. Of wives who are barren and can't conceive. Of mothers who have lost their children. Of families in other parts of the world watching their worlds being torn apart by gunfire and bombs. Of jobs lost. Of disappointments from friends and family. Of betrayal and injustice. Of sickness and death. Of arguing with family and friends. Of churches dividing. Of singles who yearn for a spouse. Of moms raising their children alone. Of divorce and heartache. We live in a hurting, fallen, broken world. I am just a small evidence and reflection of that truth. AND YET, I have this God who loves me and chose me before time began... who is faithfully doing a good work me... and He won't give up until it is complete.

that is my rest and my hope. It is not found in me. It is not found in whether I am "normal" or not. It is not in what I do or if I have cute pictures of my kids or if I make great meals or if I'm the "Martha Stewart" creativity queen..... It's not about my failures or successes.... or my losses or my gains.... it's about Christ. My satisfaction. My contentment. My wholeness is in Him. It's not in my outward appearance or the outward manifestations and actions..... Oh to be set free of the lies that bind... that tempt comparison and judgment. To be set free of living to please others. It is for Christ alone. This is His work. And He won't let go.

The knot is gone from my stomach. I recognize that I can't handle looking to the left or the right. I love my friends. I love that they have blogs but it's not wise at this time to pursue it. I'm not that strong and I fall on a slippery slope and come crashing into the pit. And I am not to compare. God has given each of us unique burdens to bear, problems to face, and trials that leave us shaking in our boots.

May we know Him and cling to Him all the more. Let us not compare in the suffering or the lack of suffering of another... let us look to Christ and see Him. Let us lift up those we see falling and help support and encourage them and meet their needs and let us be faithful to do what He has set before us THIS day!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seeing God in everything!

A couple days ago I was reading in Streams in the Desert. This particular entry strikes a chord deep in my heart and resonates in my soul. I have been intensely grieving the loss of my sister in the past several weeks. This entry reflects my desires so well.


Streams in the Desert -September 17th

It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good. (1 Sam. 3:18)

See God in everything, and God will calm and color all that thou dost see! It may be that the circumstances of our sorrows will not be removed, their condition will remain unchanged; but if Christ, as Lord and Master of our life, is brought into our grief and gloom, "He will compass us about with songs of deliverance." To see HIM, and to be sure that His wisdom cannot err, His power cannot fail, His love can never change; to know that even His direst dealings with us are for our deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say, in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposed toward us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessing they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebellious thoughts.

H.W. Smith

Anxiety.

I can feel the anxiety bubbling to the surface. It's creeping slowly upward. Somewhere from the bottom of my depths it's creeping forward and I'm trying to keep the sheer panic from setting in.

I can't stand it when I'm like this. I know things are okay. In fact I can tell myself over and over, "You're okay. You're okay." But my heart still races and my mind feels like it's trying to complete a triathalon... without training.

God, only you can still the anxious heart and mind. Direct my steps. I thank you that you know and have given me the exact circumstances I am in. Thank you that you love me even though I'm frail, imperfect and broken. Change my heart to respond to you and to allow myself to be calmed. To know that I can't do it all, accomplish it all or be it all. BUT YOU ARE my ALL in ALL. Help me to seek you for strength and rest not to trust in myself and my abilities. Thank you for letting me shower today. Thank you for Samuel's cheerful heart this morning. Thank you for the extra hours of sleep. Let me rest and trust in you. Remove the false guilt and condemnation I am experiencing. Bring true conviction where needed. Remove the shame of past failures. My hope is in you Lord. I cry out to you knowing that you have said that you are a faithful God and I'm believing you to be who you say you are. Show me my next step for this day. Help me to see you in the small things and in the small people that you have placed in my care. I surrender all of me. Thank you Jesus. In your name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a diagnosis.

Mike and I had received a diagnosis on Michael. It was something that we hesitated to bring to the blog because we don't want an over re-action, either from ourselves or from others. It's something we've had to sit on and think about and hopefully have balance and perspective in interpreting all the data and information.

All that said Michael has been diagnosed as having hypotonic cerebral palsy. "What is that?" you might say. this was an accurate explanation I found....

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects movement and posture. Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury to a specific area of the brain, resulting in the disruption of the individual’s sensory-motor skills. The area of the brain the injury affects determines the type of cerebral palsy. Injury to the cerebellum can result in a form called hypotonic cerebral palsy.

There are certain signs that may suggest the presence of hypotonic cerebral palsy. Normally infants give only a moderate amount of resistance to you when you move their extremities. Children affected with hypotonic cerebral palsy appear floppy; for example, hypotonic babies have an appearance similar to a rag doll. Hypotonic cerebral palsy infants rest with their elbows and knees loosely extended, while infants with normal tone tend to have flexed elbows and knees. Head control may be poor or absent in the floppy infant with the head falling to the side, backward or forward. Hypotonic cerebral palsy can also be so severe that the infant may have difficulty breathing.

Infants or young children who have difficulty maintaining posture against gravity and prefer to sit leaning against something or lying on the floor may have hypotonic cerebral palsy. Preschool-aged children may sit in a fashion that appears lazy. Rather than sitting upright, they mostly sit in a slouching manner, lean on the chair or a table with the head over the top of the table, or lie down during activities as much as possible which could also be a sign of hypotonic cerebral palsy. Children with hypotonic cerebral palsy have to put forth more effort in order to move their arms and legs, resulting in fatigue.


So what does this mean for us? We have doctors who are already trying to prescribe a wheel-chair and walker. Doesn't that sound ridiculous? It does to us. Let me put it this way.. that's a bit pre-mature at this time. We do believe that Michael will be able to crawl and walk. These things will probably take more time. At the same time, there's a lot that we DON'T know. And that's okay.

This has no bearing on his intellectual faculties. He is an smart boy. We look forward to watching him mature and develop.

We've been given pamphlets and papers and suggestions. There is a TON of information to process. A lot to think about. A lot of prayer. So please pray for us. We know our God is good and faithful. We look forward to how this will turn out and the testimony that this little boy will have. We love Michael and thank God for him and that he is alive! We are very blessed. We also know that this is a road to walk on... a road that is not full of pat answers and easy cliches... but it's a road full of needing to trust the Lord, of giving up our expectations for our family and even for our children... it's a road of surrender.

Our hope doesn't come from us. It comes from God alone. We know that better days will come; not because we know what those days will be and what they will look like but because we know who we belong to. We know how this story ends. We know when all is said and done that this life is a shadow.

2 Corinthians 4:16 "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self [3] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

L with flair.



It's not easy being a princess-bride.

Libby loves dressing up. I always find it amusing to see what she'll be dressed up in next. This was one of her most recent ensembles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My grief.

My Grief- Written by me.

Sad. Slip. Falling into the shadow.
A scratchy blanket that does not bring warmth but leaves you raw. Itchy. Painful. Smothered.

Dreams leave you with the realization, Yes, they really are gone. You see them. You touch them. They are real.
Then you wake.

Sink. Sank. Sunk. Like Mud. Deeper. succumbing to the depths. Boots mired down.

Confusion. No explanation. Crisis. Tragedy. Bad words that don't make sense.

Loss. Overwhelming sorrow drown. drown. drown.

Know the truth. Taste the pain. Bitter on the tongue. Trials. Build. Perservere. Grow. change. Different.

God is good. He loves me so.
Hope. Jesus. Hold on. Never Let go.

Swept Away.



I find myself sweeping on a daily basis. And this pile is a symbol of my everyday pile. it will return tomorrow. I will sweep again. And it will be back.

Dreams of a hardwood floor vacuum dance in my head...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I take it back, I did have an alligator wrestling day. Ian dumped hot sweet tea on me. My hair, shirt, carpet... on the therapist and on himself and Michael. He is very quick with a mug. Michael threw up on me twice. I whirled and whirled around cleaning up one mess after the next. Laundry. New sheets on the bed. Dishes. Make meals. Change poopy diaper. change another one... and what? Oh change another one! Yet God is there in my alligator-wrestling days. He's not intimidated by the sharp claws or thrashing tail... He is in control of it all. He maneuvers and guides me through my dad. Step by step. Moment by moment. Breath by breath.

Wrestling Alligators.


Some mornings feel like I'm positively wrestling an alligator. Today is not one of those days. With limited activity due to my best beloved taking the kids to school. But lately it has been wrestling alligators. All the boys have been sick again. So, on the first day of school instead of Samuel attending I was taking him and Ian and Michael to the doctors. (Where we proceeded to be for the next 2 1/2 hours). Blood tests. Chest x-rays. Doling out antibiotics all around. An oral steroid there. An inhaler here. Cough. Cough.

Libby enjoyed her first day of school. And by her second she was crying when I made her leave. She LOVES school. She comes home and sings songs and tell stories and talks about dressing up. Her teacher Mrs. Wood hugged her goodbye yesterday. Libby clinged to her like glue and Mrs. Wood said, "I love you my Libby." Melted my heart.

Samuel experienced his first day of school yesterday. He seemed to love it. I loved his classroom... very cool! How can one not learn in that environment? He came home excited and perky. He ate lunch and took a nap for 4 hours! Yep. Wiped him out.

We're trying to figure out the school routine because Libby and Samuel have different schools, different schedules, and different times. For example Samuel would be spending an hour and a half on the bus in the morning. So we're driving him instead. Libby doesn't have a bus option so we have to drive her. Samuel takes the bus home.... so we're still working out the bugs and kinks...

Then therapy appts. Dentist. Specialists. Endocrinology for Samuel next week. GI. Pulmonary. Etc. The list goes on. And did I mention the 20 calls I should be making and the e-mails I need to write and the bills that need attending to.

Well, I'm being summoned by a little one upstairs. The therapist should be here shortly. I'm going to make myself a cup of tea and enjoy the "quieter" presence of two instead of four...

Monday, September 07, 2009

6 years.


Mike and I just celebrated our 6th Anniversary yesterday. It's hard to believe we've been married that short. Most people would say married that long but I feel like we've crammed in a couple of decades in those six short years.

Time has passed. There's much that has happened and yet I am still in love. In fact I am more in love with Mike today than I was the day I said my vows.

Bachelor's Degree
4 Babies
7 Moves!
Master's Degree
Job Changes: teaching, barista at Starbucks, working at a book store, serving at Olive Garden, newspaper route, picture taking, building large garden structures, repairing furniture, hauling large things around :), teaching again....

Many losses. Many medical crisis', many sick children. Many failures. Many successes. A season of survival mode that hasn't stopped since March 2004... and through it all:

My husband has been faithful, gracious, generous, loving, loyal, compassionate, forgiving, forbearing, gentle, and strong.

(Honey, I know your failings as well. I know that you've made mistakes. BUT I want you to know that God has been faithful to us and has allowed us to become more one today than we've ever been. We're both growing and changing. God is making us more into His likeness. He is the one who is good! I love you BABE! You are a wonderful husband, my best friend, and my only lover.)

Happy Anniversary Love!