Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflection

With it being New Years Eve, it seems only fitting to spend some time reflecting on 2011. It feels good to know this year is coming to a close. It has far surpassed the 24 previous and goes down in the record books as "most life changing." I've had to get to know myself, my husband and my Savior all over again. There were moments of sadness, grief and sheer horror intermingled with excitement and tears of joy. Days were long, nights were longer. There were times when I sat back and went, "Really, God? Really?!"
I wrote a note the beginning of last year explaining how much life seemed to be up in the air. We were in a frightening limbo and constantly wondered what God had in store for us and our future. When I think about that time, I giggle to myself. I imagine God whispered to the angels, "Just watch. The next few chapters are going to blow their minds." And have they ever!
In the midst of every emotion imaginable, every time I screamed at God and couldn't imagine life getting any harder... one thing was consistent...
"...And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20

I have so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to and too much to mention. Praising God for His magic eraser and my dirty chalkboard. Couldn't have made it without His provision, wisdom and mighty, mighty hand. 

What's up, 2012! 
Bring it. 


Friday, December 30, 2011

Together

Five years ago. 
My, that's hard to believe. 

We met in 2001. 
I was fifteen. He was sixteen. 

We spent last night sifting through converse boxes filled with ticket stubs, dried roses, yellowed love notes and chocolate wrappers. We reminisced about beach rendezvous', AWANA camps, old friends and mis-matched shoe laces. Ten years have come and gone since Mr. California strutted into Beach Baptist Church making all the little church girls swoon. We fell hard and survived the fall. 





July 15th, 2006, the heaven's opened, the beach closed and a ring appeared. 
"Marry me" was mentioned, tears were shed and phone calls were made. 

Five months later, dreams became a reality as groomsmen laced up their coordinating converse sneakers. Bridesmaids shared eye shadow, wolfed down leftover pizza and hurried to the church just in time to snap a few pictures. We joked in between shots and commented on how beautiful everyone looked. 

The time finally came as Dad held back tears walking his baby girl down the rose lined isle. Music played, vows were repeated, things went wrong and we smooched our way into eternal matrimony. 
It was bliss. 


He's the peanut butter to my jelly, the rainbow to my sky; I love him more than a fat kid loves cake. 
Dumb analogies... 

No matter what: he's my better half. And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

We've made it through the best and worst of times. 
Together. 

Happy 5 years to my best friend and beloved. 

I love you more than yesterday. 
I love you more than life. 

12.29.06


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Magic

If you've been wondering what we've been up to...

Behold the magic of...

Daddy coming HOME.


Oh, the excitement!

Christmas traditions. 

Getting to know you again. 

Disney.

First rides. 


Family. 

Old friends. 

New friends. 

Magic.

And those were just the first two days. 

Throw in...

Bow torture.

Classic movies. 


Inside jokes. 

Baby practice. 

Presents. 


Grandparents.

And the whole Motley Crew.

Freaking awesome

Many more details and excitement to come. 

Until then... 

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

From Santa's favorite. 







Saturday, December 17, 2011

24

In just 24 hours...
This will be happening again...






Except: Add less hair on me, more hair on Ben and a completely different airport...

Nonetheless... Viola! 
Family. 


Now, let me be, blogosphere. Momma's got work to do! 

Happy Almost Tomorrow! 





Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Commonality

"I love the little things in life that add up to one big huge thing." 
Ah, Kelle... You speak my language, girlfriend. 

Little-ish things from the past few days...

1) Finding commonality. We did that last night and it was refreshing. See, folks, we're all in this together. As Christians, we are not called to separate and get angry over stupid things. Duh, right? You'd think so. But it happens all the time. We try to force our convictions on others and, in turn, hurt that relationship whether we were trying to or not. The fact of the matter is, we all have one thing in common in the end - we love the Lord and we want to bring glory to Him. That may look different to you than it does to me. There's nothing wrong with that. So, next time, instead of arguing and adding "anger" to your list of emotions for the day... Say this with me, "Sweet, dude. I love Jesus, too!" 

2) Everybody knows somebody. "My brother has Downs." When the sweet, sweet woman in the food court today sat down and shared a little bit about Steven, I listened intently and was so grateful for the reminder than we're not alone in this. I'm addicted to moments like that. I savor the bond and thank God that everybody knows somebody. 

3) Little Dude has been opening his mouth when he eats. I know that might sound weird, but instead of me prying his mouth open to shovel rice cereal, peas or sweet taters in there, he proudly mimics the "AH" face Mommy is sporting. Yeah, buddy! 

4) Along with the food milestone, we've started splashing in the tub. If I had a third arm, I would totally tape the excited-ness and share it with the world. But, alas, memories are the only video tape happening until a) Daddy grabs the camera or b) Dude sits up without face planting. 

5) Speaking of Daddy and the camera... That could totally happen starting this Sunday. *applause, applause, applause* Woot! 

6) My house smells like a Christmas tree thanks to the Evergreen candle I've been burning all afternoon. The tree that goes along with the smell will be perfectly placed in my living room soon and very soon. 

When I think about the events of this week, I know I won't remember everything. But those are some of things that will replay when the movie in my head rolls on. (Yours plays in black and white, too, right?) 

Hope your Wednesday had lots of little things!     



Monday, December 12, 2011

Push

When Micah's gone we go through stages. The first few weeks are always the hardest. After spending every waking moment in each other's presence, it's a bit of a shock to go from that to pure absence. So, I hibernate. Don't take it personally if I don't contact you, don't answer phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. Hibernating is how my heart gets used to traveling around the world. I always tell myself that it's going to be different next time, but it never is. I just need to be. And that's okay.
After the hibernation stage, we brisk into the schedule. We emerge into our new normal and finally routine ourselves into the "it is what it is" idea. I hate being away from my husband, but I love what he's doing and why he's doing it. So, I cling to the good and kick Satan's nasty lies in the butt. You know the whole, "he would be here if he really loved you" crap. The fact of the matter is that he does love me; that's why he's gone. Of course in the midst of the schedule stage, I have moments of grief and days that I crawl back into my little cave and let the storm pass. And that's okay.
In stage three, we "just push through it." We've made it through the bulk of our time apart and we just push through the last few weeks. We talk about things we're going to do, who we're going to see. We make concrete plans and relish in the idea that we'll actually be doing them together. We remind ourselves that we've just got to get through these last couple of days; that relief and another new, wonderful normal is just around the bend.
Exactly one week from yesterday, our family will be complete. Even if only for a little while, we will be melded together like concrete. Oh, what a month it will be! Adding Christmas festivities and loved ones gathering together and, break into the Hallelujah Chorus, people! We've got Heaven in a snow globe! (Okay, sand globe...)

In other news,
Our little guy is blossoming into a semi-mobil, smiley, head-full-of-hair eight month old. He recognizes his name, gets excited when mommy plays with him, pets the doggies if they come close and is *this* close to not toppling over when he sits up. It's truly hard for me to believe my baby is so close to turning one. I feel like we just brought him home from the hospital. Maybe it's because of how vividly moments of those days are etched in my memory; maybe it's because time really does fly when you become a parent. Either way, I grow more and more in love with Mr. Man and his Daddy and couldn't imagine life without my dude's. I am blessed beyond words.

Speaking of Ben-Jammin's first birthday... We are on the brink of planning something insanely awesome. I'm keeping details to myself for the time being, but just prepare yourselves for epic and keep checking back for news.
Also, prayerfully consider donating to our little Rock Star's fund in support of the National Down Syndrome Society. I am amazed at the amount we've raised thus far and can only imagine what could be in store between now and March 29th! Thank you to those who have already donated. Ben and his buddies thank you, too.

Goodnight, moon.

Such a big boy!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Believe

I debated long and hard about whether or not to continue with this abortion discussion. My intent with One Day was not that of anger about abortion. If you read it again, you'll see that it was more about special needs children being sent to institutions for their differences. Since many of these children have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, it hit home like nothing else ever has. I had seen a show on television that highlighted one of these institutional prisons. I'm not linking it because, thankfully, the hell hole they were talking about has since been shut down because of media attention. But, that's where it stemmed from. If you've been keeping up with this blog since the beginning, you know that writing is the way I get emotions out. I had emotions that night... so they came out. If that bothers you, you certainly don't have to continue keeping up with our story. I do welcome the reactions and the differences of opinion but, again, my intent is not that of anger.
 My intent is to share what I believe and why I believe it. 

With that out of the way... Here's what I do believe about abortion.

I've gotten a couple differing views since my last post. 
It never ceases to amaze me how polar opposite views about this can be. 
I'm not saying deciding to have an abortion is an easy decision. 
What I am saying is that you can't deny that it's a human being. Can you? 
I was six weeks along when we first heard Ben's heartbeat. 
Six weeks. 
Some women don't even realize they're pregnant at six weeks. 

I do want to reiterate again, I'm not angry. If you're pro-choice, if you've had an abortion, if you're thinking about it, if you just don't know what to believe... know that you are loved. 
I would actually love to hear some more reactions. If you have an opinion on either side, please share. If you want to keep it private, email me or shoot me a Facebook message. 
I'd love to hear from you, pray for you, answer questions and continue the discussion. 

 Just know that I believe ending a pregnancy is stopping a beating heart.  



Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Day

Please excuse me. With a heavy heart, I'm thinking out loud.

I take it back; don't excuse me... I'm not sorry for what I'm about to vent about. Because it's vulgar. And makes me so angry I could break something.

Imagine being sent away to a broken down insane asylum just because you're blind. Imagine being sprawled out in a bed, alone. The only time anyone ever pays attention to you is to change your diaper every few days. Imagine being beaten for not being able to speak. Imagine a gorgeous sixteen year old girl with designer genes left for dead in a crib designed for a six month old. 

Sick to your stomach yet? 

I could show you pictures. 
Maybe I should. 

I told someone recently that Ben has Down Syndrome. Their response? A solemn, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." I didn't know how to respond to that in person; so I didn't. Then I started thinking about what it would be like if I told someone I was a girl. Or that Micah had blue eyes. Or that the sun turns my hair blonde in the summer. Would they be sorry about that? Just because you're a boy, have green eyes and brown hair doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. It just means you're different than me. It means that God designed you to be who you are. He picked you to look like that. He chose to make your eyes round instead of almond shaped; gave you a pear shaped body instead of a stick figure; curly hair instead of straight. You're the only you. What don't you like about yourself? Can you change it? No, you say? Then, thank God! You're a marvelous creation and He made you that way. Be happy about it!

It seems people around the world don't share my viewpoint about differences. Just like Hitler and the Jews, people are picking and choosing who can live. Hitler didn't like Jews? We don't like babies who might be different. Sometimes not even different; just babies that don't "fit in" with where we are in life right now. 

I have a shirt that says, "Abortion: America's Hidden Holocaust." I wear it proudly. Even more proudly than I used to. Children like my Benjamin are treated indecently all over the world for simply being different. Babies that haven't even been born yet are being overlooked and disregarded for being different. Suddenly we can't be "inconvenienced" with the joy that is God's creation. It makes me physically ill to think that if Ben had been given to another family who decided an extra chromosome was one too many, he could have been sent to one of those horrible hell holes and left there. It's happening far too much and far too many places. 

I am actually quite proud to say that because of media attention and viewer outrage, several of these places that I'm describing have been shut down and the children inside have been given a chance to survive. I wish desperately that I had the power to take each one of those children into my arms and just love on them. That's all they really want anyway. Is that so hard to muster up?  

I know this post is a bit dark. Frankly, it was more for my own good than maybe yours. What can we do to help stop the insanity? I have no idea. What I do know is that it makes me hug my little guy a little bit harder. It makes me pray for those children a little bit more. It makes me all the more grateful to live in a country where differences are being more and more accepted everyday. 

One day we won't just accept it, we'll embrace the glory that is different. One day we'll really realize that normal is just a matter of opinion. One day we'll realize that children are a blessing. All children. One day the trumpet will sound and those innocent lives will never be mistreated again. One day we'll all stand before a mighty God. 

One day things will change. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Grateful

In my book, Thanksgiving is just the prerequisite to the grand finale. I was born and raised a Christmas fanatic complete with busting a move to Holly Jolly Christmas in July (much to my husband's dismay). All the men in my family are married in, so it's only natural that the women are all in conjunction about the simultaneous Christmas spirit. Us chickadee's stick together, ya know. Sorry, fellas.

Thanksgiving seemed different this year. We came together. Turkey numbed the pain of home repair, job if's, empty chairs and diagnosis. We laid burdens down at the mailbox and thanked God we wouldn't have to pick them up alone on the way out. We were able to just simply...be. 

For Micah and I, this year has been etched in our memories like something out of a Hallmark movie. So much has happened that has forever changed our lives. In the midst of many emotions, I know I have so much to be grateful for.  I'm grateful for a little boy who God blessed with almond shaped eyes because those eyes couldn't have been designed more perfectly. I'm grateful for a husband who makes sacrifices, for us and for his country, so we can have a better future. I'm grateful for family; blood related or not. I'm grateful for a Savior who loves me despite of my pity parties. Truly, though, I am most grateful to be alive. Cliche, but that just seems to sum it up nicely. I'm grateful God allows me to wake up because there was a day I shouldn't have been able to do that. 

In a mere 3 weeks from yesterday, our little family will gather and experience what Christmas is like together. Micah and I haven't celebrated Christmas together in two years and adding the little dude into the mix is just whipped cream on the pecan pie. (Which was delicious, by the way). 

Hope you and yours had a delightful time eating too much and fighting over the sale papers. Oh, and if you braved the hell on earth that is Black Friday, more power to ya, sistah! I was nestled safely under the warm, cozy covers. Hope you made it out in one piece. 

Happy Sunday, Blogosphere! May the Christmas music officially commence! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reality

This week has been one of good, bad and ugly. 

Good: 
Speaks for itself. 


It is completely impossible to have a bad day when you wake up to this dude. For real. 


 Bad:
I was just explaining to someone how blessed Micah and I are with the communication situation. We are able to talk at some point everyday and Skype is a regular occurrence. Most families who have loved ones in the sandbox can't say those things, so we know full well how fortunate we've been. Ah, yes, "how fortunate we've been." While somebody somewhere did something stupid, Micah and his buddies are, in turn, paying for their bad decision. Our communication level has officially changed and the morale of the group has hit the floor. Internet has been their only glimpse of normalcy and taking that away means hours of boredom and too much time to think. Fit could hit that shan, people. Pray hard. 

Ugly: 
Nothing worse than being sick while taking care of an infant. Two movie days, soup and gatorade later and wa-lah. No snuggling and careful feeding worked and little man came out unscathed. Mommy has recovered well and the in-laws are thankful. 


Things don't always go the way we plan. People make stupid decisions, feelings get hurt, germs get spread and technology fails. It's just the way it is. Sometimes it comes in strides; other times it piles on until we break. Either way I'm sure of one thing - - - 
Nothing surprises God

So, take it one thing at a time and remember the good things. 


Ben would want it that way. 
    

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Humbled

Have you ever had an interaction with someone and left going, "I should've said this" or "I would've done that differently"? When a woman stopped my friend in the mall and asked if the baby she was with was named Benjamin, we both froze in our tracks. How on earth did she know his name? She proceeded to explain that she recognized him from my blog. Say what? She gave me compliment after compliment (after realizing that it was me who wrote it... not my friend who apparently is my twin - 4 inches taller, of course). I graciously thanked her and we went on our way. When I was thinking about what she said and how amazing it was to realize that people I haven't met are somehow being blessed by my story, I caught myself pondering how I could've handled it better.
See, folks, this is not about me. Though I'm thankful the Lord has blessed me with the apparent eloquence of stringing together words that somehow encourage others, it comes down to the words you may have missed... the Lord has blessed me. I don't just write because I enjoy it; I don't just write because I know somebody's reading it. Don't get me wrong; those are on the list, but number one is because I love the Lord. I want to bring glory to Him.
Because He's good, people! All the time. 
So if I had it to do over again... "I appreciate the encouragement, but it's not about me."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Company

 I've always loved having people over. When we first got married, our home was the mecca for our friends. There was rarely a weekend (or weekday for that matter) that somebody didn't stop by for a quick hug or a famous Micah meal. All we had to do was turn on the grill and the crowd would gather. The mid week preparations and the last minute to do list that accompanies making sure whoever comes over leaves their stresses at the door was my job while he took care of the meal and entertainment. I love picking up messes afterward and remembering just how that towel got there or who wore those shoes they forgot. He loves making up recipes and finding things to do. We are the perfect entertaining team.
Since half my team is enjoying another time zone when such events take place now-a-days, I've reluctantly picked up the slack. And I did a pretty dang good job this weekend. (Yeah; I'm okay with tooting my own horn every now and then.)  
Girlfriends + Disney + Beach + Perfect Weather + Good Food + Cute Grandparents... I mean, really. Could you ask for anything else? That's the jest of our much needed, completely relaxing, overdue girl time. I needed this weekend for, if nothing else, proof that I can pick up the slack. I miss Micah daily, but I've had to learn how to be independent. I miss him most with stupid things like reaching the top shelf or changing a light bulb. So I feel accomplished and proud when I do those things... and do them well.



 



Our little parrot charmed the hearts of trick-or-treaters just as I suspected. He snoozed away as the pirates passed out treasures, sipped cider and hot chocolate, got eaten alive by mosquitos and complimented the princesses. It was epic. (Yes, dear, I used the word epic. Be proud.) 





Don't forget about our little Ben-Jammin's birthday present! We would love for you to be a part of making a difference in the lives of those with Designer Genes. 
In other words... We would love for you to support our son and his friends. 
ALL proceeds go directly to the National Down Syndrome Society
Every dollar counts. You don't have to make a big donation to make a difference.
Click HERE to donate! 
A huge thank you to those who have already done so!