Thursday, March 31, 2011

Through the clouds...

{ Photo credit goes to Sante.boschianpest originally posted here. } I've been heavy hearted for a long while now. There are many reasons why that is, but today I am beginning to see a tiny bit of Light breaking through the clouds. Or possibly it is that I have been walling out the Light and am finally at the point of being vulnerable enough to crack open my heart and let something into my brokeness again. Either way I just have to say that it feels amazing to sense that a brighter day is coming. Even if it's still a long way off. I am going to trust that Joy is closer than I think and I'm choosing to seek it again. I have been soul searching and asking tough questions of God and faith and wondering how come He doesn't make life easier when He holds that power. Not that I have a right to know- but sometimes I feel like I need answers before I can move forward and take the next step. This is how God spoke to me today. As I stood in my kitchen with my hands scrubbing dishes in soapy, warm water. I heard unmistakeable truth. I know I'm not alone in wondering and questioning and feeling as though God has turned a deaf ear to my cries sometimes. So today I share with you what God impressed on my heart and mind in hopes that it might encourage someone else. Someone like you. "Faith is not the absence of asking questions, but the ability to press on without all the answers." The prayer I jotted down in my journal today reads: Thank you, God, for giving me Your peace and presence in times when I find myself at the end of my rope. I praise You for holding on to me when I'm the one ready to let go. Thank you for helping my hurting heart to trust and rest in You. Amen. I pray that God will shine through whatever darkness clouds your life today. I'm so grateful for the promise that the best is yet to come!

Friday, March 18, 2011

She got her wish...

Today is Teagan's birthday. She would be 14, but as I've shared before, in my heart and mind she is four forever. This is the way I will remember her always. I will never forget how excited she was to be turning four. She wanted a butterfly cake and she got one. She actually celebrated her birthday twice that year. The second time she decorated her own mini cake with M & M's. She was surrounded by family and friends who loved and adored her. There was so much happiness and laughter in her world.
She got a lavendar Barbie Jeep and several other toys she wanted that year. She gave hugs and kisses in return. She was a bundle of love, joy, happiness and never-ending energy. There were days I felt like the luckiest mom to have such a special little girl in my life. From the moment the doctor said, "It's a girl!" and then placed her next to my cheek I felt something I never imagined I could feel. My heart overflowed with love and blessing at such a wonderful gift. She changed me. She changed me from the inside-out.
Ten years ago she was one of the happiest little 4-year old girl I had ever known... and she had a wish. A truly unusual wish for someone who loved life and lived it with such zeal. She told me several times in the next few months after her birthday that "she wanted to be 4 forever". I tried to talk her out of such a wish. Not that I ever dreamed that it would come true. I couldn't have known that it would.
If I had known I would have lived differently. I would have smothered her even more with love and hugs and praise and kisses. I would have breathed in her beauty and expressions and I would have taped her voice singing and laughing and I would have snapped a thousand more pictures of her too. I would have sung her to sleep and stayed next to her through the night just to memorize how she felt and soaked up her warmth a bit more. I would have run my fingers through her hair and wrapped my finger around her pinky even more tightly each time we pinky promised to love each other forever.
I couldn't have imagined such a childish wish coming true. But for some reason, beyond that which I will ever know or understand, she got her wish and that wish changed my life forever. Today is a day of remembering and wishing and dreaming and even for being thankful. I still feel like the luckiest mom some days. Today, as much as my heart is forever torn, I feel grateful. Grateful to have been given the gift of Teagan. Even if it was only 4 short years.
Happy Birthday Teagan, my little dream girl who still brings me to laughter and tears. You'll always be the love of my heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm still learning...

Yesterday Chip took Wyndham to get her haircut. She hasn't had it cut in over a year and her hair is really thick and basically has been pulled back in a ponytail for the past several months now. Because of the length of her hair she was able to donate it to "Locks of Love". She seems to understand that she did a good thing and you can see by her smile that she is happy with her new hairstyle. I think it feels lighter and maybe has helped to lift her spirits a bit too.
What I learn from Wyndham over and over again is that disabilities don't have to define a person. She has been proof of that too many times to count in the past 10 years. As I think back through all of the challenges she has had to overcome and still faces, it's humbling. It's humbling because while she does have sad and down times she still manages to bring smiles to those of us who spend our lives with her and she even helps others too!
Too often I, and so many others, can make our problems bigger and make them everyone else's problems too, just by holding onto the hurt. Wyndham is teaching me that you need to just let it go. The way to freedom from whatever one's disability- whether it's physical or mental or any kind of disability- is that you don't need to let it hold you back. She certainly doesn't like not being able to walk or talk, but those things don't change her heart. She has a way of loving and giving and making life brighter for people around her in spite of all the things that make it tough for her to do so.
I'm learning lessons from her that aren't taught in life- but lived in life. She makes me want to be better. She makes my life better just by being in it. And that's an amazing thing for anyone to do. I hope her life in some way challenges you too. Or simply adds a smile to your day. That's what she would want to share with you if she could. Here's to brightening the world today in some way today- no matter how big or small it may be!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today was a great day for Buttercream icing.

She's pink and sweet and ruffly and soft and festive and happy almost all the time. We're so lucky to have had her in our lives for 7 years now. Happy Birthday to our little Ava. She's added so much joy to our hearts and lives. I hope I get to make her birthday cakes for many more years too. =)

Friday, March 11, 2011

All things considered...

See these smiles and that happy face? Well, I know you can sense the struggles in my life right now, but the fact is I am still one lucky lady- all things considered. I am one who knows full well that even on my darkest days I still have so much to be thankful for and that my life holds many blessings. I'm not unaware of that.
Simply knowing that Jesus love has covered my sins and secured a place for me in Heaven is more than enough to satisfy my soul. But as a human and a stressed out one at times I lose sight of that. Hence the feeling of being overwhelmed and wishing things different for a long while now. But today. Today is another day. A new day. A day to see blessing. To feel grateful. To behold the blessings and gifts in my life- whether they are covered in sweet potatoes or dirt or markers. It's a day to thank God that things are as good as they are- when they could indeed be much worse. My heart goes out to so many friends and family I know who are battling life-threatening illnesses, mourning loved ones and lost dreams, and to those most recently touched by tragedy of nature in the tsunami/earthquake in Japan.
I have it pretty good and I must say that to focus on that makes a happy heart. Blessings to you wherever you are in this big world of ours. May your heart be secure about your eternity and be happy for today as a result.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Time for a new outlook...

Bella just got glasses yesterday. Moments after the kids came home from school/therapy the girls had a short photoshoot. Wyndham wanted in on the action. She was all smiles for the camera and was hamming it up for the girls. She can be very animated at times- especially when she feeds off the silliness of the other kids.
These pictures make me realize something I need to remind myself of more and more these days. That is just how much my attitude and reactions to things affect how my kids and other people react around me. Life has been more than tough and 'draining' around here the past 6 months or more. It seems like I keep saying that, but it's the truth.
Teague is a very happy, content baby. But he takes really short naps during the day and still wakes at night. Being content can still make for a tired momma. =) Add to that our hyper-active Crew. When I say 'hyperactive' I seriously mean that. He rarely calms down from morning til night. He fights to keep up with the older siblings and often stays ahead of them, or literally climbs all over them- just because that's how he rolls. He doesn't have an off switch and can turn on the 'bad attitude switch' just by waking up in the morning. It's been extra challenging for both Chip and me- and then the other kids too- as none of our other kids have ever been so demanding and strong-willed. He has his mind made up about things and there's little we can do to snap him out of his dramatic behaviors no matter how many activities we come up with for him. We like to joke that he has "2 minutes of nice-ness in him each day so don't use it up too quickly and enjoy it while it lasts". But we're still trying to find ways to manage the day-to-day happenings around here and keep telling ourselves that this time in our lives won't last forever.
It only feels like it will.
The update on Wyndham came yesterday when she had an appointement with her orthopedic surgeon. She has been very tenative about bearing weight and trying to walk still. It's been over 5 months since her surgery and the truth about her recovery is that we're more than wishing she were further along in getting back to her 'old self'. We weren't ever told to expect that it would take this long to get her mobile again. After her doctor visit yesterday we were told it could take up to about a year for her to have her full strength and mobility back. So I guess she is well on her way. She will be fitted for another set of AFO's and hopefully this next pair will give her more confidence and ease with getting on her feet again. She's definitely got her personality back most days. So that is a good thing.
I'll admit it right here- since I always like to keep it honest and real around here- I'm the one that feels like a failure most of the time and I'm ready to give up most days before I even finish my first cup of coffee. I feel like no matter how hard I try to see the good in the bad, or to bring happiness out of difficulties, or to trust that God is doing something that we can't see, that it just doesn't seem like it matters. In my heart I know it does and I understand that there are times in our lives that fighting for something is the only way to make it happen. But making healthy meals and staying on top of laundry and repeatedly getting Crew out of trouble and staying on top of homework and offering stimulating activities for Wyndham in her limited ability state and so much more seems to be taking its toll on me. I feel like I'm no longer able (and growing less willing) to keep up with the demands. I feel like each day I fall short and in so doing I 'lose a part of me' and go into the next day with less confidence and abilities. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually I feel like I am failing myself- and then failing everyone around me as a result.
There's still a part of me that says "don't throw in the towel quite yet". I have to say that Chip is a fighter too and he keeps saying we need to just hang in there and he definitely is the glue making our lives work much of the time. God seems awfully quiet even though I keep reading the Bible, have daily quiet times and devotions, and listen to praise and worship music. I'd love for my heart to feel the contentness that I've so often experienced in the past. I really truly want to find my way back to a positive, joyful me. I'm stumbling right now on my way and you know, I would love and appreciate any prayers that you guys have to offer up for me. All is not lost, but many of you know life can be tough for so many reasons.
I'm hanging on and thanking God when there are smiles to capture in pictures and praying that He will bring more peace and happiness to our hearts and home. The journey is still winding and twisting, but I want to believe that it is beautiful and worth all the struggles in the end. I think it's more than time for me to embrace a new outlook on life. I think I'm ready too.