Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Good Feelings

It's December. I'm so pumped. I was listening to the radio yesterday (Christmas music, of course) and I cried a little when I heard this song. On one hand, I'm SO grateful this doesn't apply to us this year but on the other hand, I get it. It hits home and makes my heart ache. So all you military/contractor families out there - you are not forgotten, my friends.
Micah will be home this year, Ben is at a fun "let's rip paper" stage, and my parents will be here to celebrate with us. I love Christmas and everything that goes with it. Magical moments filled with new loves and old traditions. Bing, Frank and Louis contributing to my nostalgia while I reminisce about past holidays with family and friends. Hot cocoa and a roaring fire this year.
Our tree is up and decorated, our house lights up the street (because apparently we're the only festive ones around here) and our stockings are actually hung by the chimney with care. Dude. My heart could possibly explode with good feelings.

Speaking of good feelings (and in case you missed the Facebook announcement)...


Mr. Benjamin is going to be a big brother! True story. Come mid July, we will be a family of four. Outside of some sleepy eyes and random "I don't feel awesome" days, Mini Webb and I are doing very well. 

Ben is doing well, too. We are still working on getting his little legs to take off in a walking fashion, but it won't be long. He's as cute and sweet as ever. I feel more blessed everyday to be his Mama and I'm looking forward to watching him settle into his big bro role. 



Alas, Michael Buble has a Christmas carol with my name on it. I must leave you. 

Until next time... 
Happy December!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

My husband informed me that I've been a little "doom and gloom" lately. In fact, he brought me my computer several nights ago and said, "Here. Write something happy." Let me first apologize for making your hearts heavy. I'm fine; I promise. Writing is my outlet and hard feelings tend to come out before happy ones. I'm not sinking into a pit of nothingness and life is not awful beyond repair. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, it probably has something to do with all the things that have seemed to pile up since Micah came home. Our world got flipped and I haven't really had the time to work through it all. Hence all the gloom posts. So, my bad.

In an effort to brighten things up a little, a few things I'm thankful for today...

1. Jesus loves me. That fact alone makes life worth it.
2. My husband is better than yours. No, really.
3. I have a huge, fantastic family. Blood related or not: you are loved.
4. My son. He's just my favorite.
5. A job is a commodity these days. I'm thankful for mine.
6. We were blessed with a home we can afford that we are not crammed into. (And it has two front doors, so you're extra welcome here).
7. My pantry is full.
8. Christmas is on it's way. It's the best time of year.
9. Papa Bond's cornbread dressing. You don't understand. I'll be consuming my weight in the stuff today.
10. I'm thankful for a pen and paper (or keyboard). I need to write.

It's a good day. Thank Jesus and eat a lot. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

My greatest treasure. Thank you, Lord. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sideways

When people ask my opinion about the war, I shiver a little. It's not that I don't think there's a time for everything: war, peace, mourn, dance. Jesus says so and He's right. It's just that I've seen the other side. Vicariously through my husband, of course, but I've seen it nonetheless. It ain't pretty. I have strong feelings about certain things. Things that I often keep to myself because people can't understand unless they've been there. Things that the media conveniently doesn't tell you and things that you wouldn't believe if I tried. I respect the troops and I'm thankful to live in the Unites States. But that's all you really need to know.
Micah doesn't talk about it often. A nightmare here; a "thankful to be alive" there. I don't ever bring it up on my own, but my ears are always available. When he chooses, it's about June 1st. It's the day I answered the phone and thought he wasn't coming home. It's the day the world literally stood still.

It's like this: When God gives you eight lives, you assume the ninth is worth keeping in your hip pocket. That's the strategy that brought him home. That's the reason we are where we are right now. It's not how we thought it was play out, but it's part of the journey. Another page; another chapter. Another reason to wake up. Another way to connect with others.

Sometimes I feel like this is a part of life that I'm just toughing out. I've been in this place before. It's the relentless rip current that makes you panic and flap your arms like a crazy person until somebody yells, "Swim sideways." ('Cause that's what you do, P.S.) I don't like the flapping of the arms phase, though, and I'm working hard trying to remember to swim sideways; to dig myself out of the negativity and mundane. It ain't pretty, but I'm learning. Slowing but surely. Messy but honest. War and then peace. Mourn and then dance. On and on the pendulum swings.

In other news, we survived the first week. Okay, that's a lie. We survived the first three days. Dude got sick and we were forced to spend Thursday and Friday snuggled on the couch watching Mickey Mouse and eating rainbow sherbet. Truthfully, I'm a little bit grateful for that. (The snuggles and sherbet... not the sickness.) My heart needed some Benjamin time and Jesus loves me.


Tell me about your opinions if you'd like. I'd love to listen. If you have questions about Afghanistan, Down syndrome, Jesus or anything else on your heart, shoot me an email. Also, if you have a business and you're interested in promoting it on this blog, holler. And if hollering doesn't work... email me.  

Until next time... Smile. It makes your butt tingle. 



"A true writer has to write even with no one to read." -Beth Moore

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ache

Today my heart aches a little. Today is my last day as a stay at home mom. At least for the time being. The Lord gave me 19 glorious months at home with my little dude and I'm so grateful, but this is being added to the ongoing list of, "Things I didn't see coming." 
Truthfully, I'm really not even a little bit excited. Truthfully, I feel like somebody else will be raising my kid. And truthfully... that sucks. 


Sure, scrubs are like pajamas and wearing pajamas to work rocks, but that's the only happy I can find today. 
I know it'll get better with time. I know we'll all get into a routine and this will become another new normal. I know this is required right now and this is happening for a reason. I know Ben will brighten otherwise mundane days for everybody he flashes his smile at and I know it's a good opportunity. 


But, Mama to Mama... this is hard

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ideal

I had an idea in my head about how life was going to be when Micah came home. It didn't involve tears or waiting or mishaps or Texas. It was supposed to be easy and immediate. I figured we had paid our dues of hardships the last few years and it would magically be over. I was wrong. There have been tears and waiting and mishaps; unpublished stories that you probably wouldn't believe if I told you. It's been hard. Even the marriage part has had it's ups and downs. I'm thrilled that I no longer have to talk to my husband through a computer screen, but when you live without someone for two years, you tend to forget what it's like to live with them. Throw in being semi-homeless and PTSD and you've got a recipe for difficult days. It's the unspoken reality of military wives. I heard a seasoned military wife at Bay Life describe it like this: "I had the perfect marriage until my husband came home. I made all the decisions; my house looked the way I wanted it to; I planned everything; I took care of it all. Then my husband came home and screwed it all up." Unfortunately, that's part of the journey. Like anything else, you gotta get through the storm to appreciate the rainbow.  Even in the best of times, marriage takes work. It's a privilege to be married and I think we forget that. We too often act like our mate owes us something. It's a vicious cycle that often ends in discontentment and bitterness because we've put so much pressure on them to be something their not. It's why God tells us to love and respect. If wives are willing to respect their husbands, husbands will be willing to love their wives... and on goes the cycle that works.


Life doesn't always go the way you picture. Our ideal and God's plan may not always look right together. Sometimes God erases the whole thing and you feel like you're starting from scratch. It's okay to be angry; it's okay to cry. As my dad would say, "It's why God gave you tears." The point is not what happens. What matters is how you handle it. Happiness is a choice. Contentment is a choice. It's okay if it takes a while to get there. Just get there. And if that's what it takes to bring glory to God... then bring it.


In other news,
The Buddy Walk delivered. We had no idea what to expect and were shocked to find that the 'View (of all places) had so many people who loved Designer genes. We strutted our stuff and felt proud to be a part of the crowd. Even Uncle Eric showed up (Thank you!)


 


Ben started PT two weeks ago and, I swear, this woman is a saint. I broke out the size 4 shoes not long ago and thought, "I bet he'll walk in these." I'm already a blubbery mess just thinking about that moment. It's the milestone of milestones and I can feel it coming.

Dance partay! 

Until next time.... Happy Awareness Month and Happy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Video

I decided to brush up the old blog and try to decipher the technical side of this thing. It's not easy. I'm pretty positive Harrison (a fourth grader) knows more about such matters than I do. In fact, I was trying to show him a video on my phone last week and I couldn't get it to work. His reaction? "Mrs. Amber... Just do this. It's so easy." Complete with eye roll. I may or may not be technologically challenged. (And I may or may not have just had to spell check technologically).


Anyway, we haven't been up to anything massive. Micah is settling back into flying manned airplanes and completely loving it. This is a dream job for him. Dream salary? Not so much. Which is why I'm venturing back into the working world. More on that later.

The 'View is taking a few minutes to get used to again. I don't hate it. It's lovely Fall temperatures lately  have made it easier to love. We even gave the 'ol fireplace a run. Because 55 degrees is cold to these Florida natives. And a fireplace is new territory.


Oh, speaking of videos... LeTourneau University chose to feature our story in a video. Short and sweet. Gets the message across. I'm lovin' it.

Check it out HERE.

Keep Down syndrome awareness in the back (or front) of your mind this month. This smile might help.



Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Beautiful

I was asked once if I saw it at the hospital. The truth? Briefly.  It was our first night together. We were both in and out of sleep. I started to unwrap my little burrito to count fingers and toes. He let out a big stretch and made this face. I saw it. But just for a minute. My hands got clammy and my heart jumped a little. Not in a good way. The moment didn't last long. I didn't look for the line in his palm. I didn't examine his ear placement. I didn't let my mind go there even though I knew what to look for. I've got a freaking degree. I knew all about it. I convinced myself that it was late. That it was the morphine giving me nightmares. That Down Syndrome couldn't happen to me.


Truth be told, after that moment, I wasn't given the opportunity to see it again until pamphlet night. Ben was in the NICU, I was fighting for my life and didn't know it. I didn't really get to see my baby again and take a good look until the day they let us go home. Maybe it was God protecting me. Maybe I wasn't ready to grieve yet. Maybe I just don't remember. 
On the flip side, special needs have always held a very special place in my heart. I've been drawn to kids that nobody else is drawn to; that nobody else wants. I love different. But when different turned out to be mine, I got scared. Everything about it scared me. Everything I had learned went out the window. The pamphlets I read looked Greek. I didn't understand a single word and everything that was said in the next few weeks felt like brand new information.


Good things in life are scary sometimes. The best things in life don't come free. It's what makes those things beautiful. You have to work for them.


I can safely say now that working through finding out my Benjamin has Down Syndrome was one of the sweetest times of my life. Hard and heartbreaking, but oh so sweet.
Down Syndrome is a beautiful diagnosis. Scary and unpredictable? Absolutely.
But completely beautiful.  


We will be participating in our local Buddy Walk this year. If you'd like more info about ours or any other of the 250+ Buddy Walks taking place around the country, click HERE

October is Down syndrome awareness month. I'll hug Ben for you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Settled

Dear Blog,

Don't let the last month be a reflection of my affection for you. We've been internet-less and therefore writing out loud has not been a viable option. But, alas, we're back! Hip hip!

Now that that's out of the way... The meat and potatoes of what's been happening around here.

We're finally settled. Sweet Lord Almighty. It was beginning to feel like I'd never be able to say that. At this moment, I am typing away at our kitchen table with a pumpkin spice latte to my left and a box of kleenex to my right. (Dude's got a runny nose). We are unpacking room by room. I've been busting my butt and have 1.5 ish rooms left. I told Micah that I've felt so unsettled for so long that I wanted to get everything done quickly. I wanted things like sipping coffee, writing and wiping noses to feel like a blissful reminder of whatever normal is instead of just a fleeting thought. And that's exactly the moment I'm enjoying. Our new home is quirky but functional. Old but clean. Homey and inviting. Just the way I like life to be. And it feels so good. I don't know how long we'll be here, but I know it's longer than we've been anywhere else lately and that feels good, too.


Mr. Benjamin seems to have grown up overnight. He has six teeth now (finally) and looks less like a baby everyday. I was scrolling through old pictures on my phone this morning and wiped a tear looking at how much he's changed. He's the happiest kid I've ever seen and his dance moves have become quite advanced. (Check Facebook for vids). We met with Texas ECI and I'm so excited about our new PT! She's got a cape - I just know it.


Have I mentioned how great it feels to be settled? We never thought "settled" and "in the 'View" would be in the same sentence, but we're grateful to be somewhere. That's what happens when you're nowhere for a while. Somewhere is a beautiful thing.

Oh and internet came at a great time - October is Down Syndrome awareness month. Be aware and keep an eye out for some special blog posts here.


Photos taken via Instagram. Follow me @ambertwebb

Happy Weekend, dear friends. It's good to be back. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple

Have you ever taken a walk with a child? You're holding their hand, taking in the moment, pointing out cool things to look at and talking about the colors. Suddenly something happens and they get scared. They'll do one of two things: climb up you like a monkey or let go of your hand and book it in the opposite direction. If they choose the latter, you'd run to catch them. Reassurance would be needed and that safe hand to hold would be essential. Eventually, you'd get back on the path and talk about how that thing wasn't so scary after all.
I'm still learning. I just wanted to point that out. I'm okay with it. Learning brings with it this ying and yang effect. The black versus white; the simple versus complicated. I've had to relearn some things about my faith. Deciphering what I believe and why I believe it; it's not always easy. I keep trying to figure out this simple versus complicated thing. Is Jesus simple or is He complicated? Is living out my faith simple or complicated? What's the big deal and why can't I come to a conclusion?
Why? Because it's both. Are there complicated things in the Christian life that we don't always have the answers for? Yes. Are some things simple? Yes.
Things are simple when you need them to be. I've been needing them to be simple lately. Life has been on the scary side. The camel's back has been broken at least a dozen times and the poor fella can't handle much more.
This happens to me almost every time I get scared and book it in the other direction: We go to church and church is good. It's always the same message. Jesus died for me. Jesus loves me. The end. It's simple. It's what I need to hear. It's Him taking me by the hand, getting me back on the path, pointing to the cross and saying, "Hey, see what I did for you? I love you. I got this," as He wipes my tears.

He's got this. Phew. Take a break, Mr. camel.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

View

When Ben and I visited the View the beginning of this year, I left with a feeling of accomplishment and relief that we had begun a new chapter in Florida. The idea that we were no longer bound to what I thought was the arm pit of East Texas was refreshing. The few people I still knew there were leaving soon and I felt confident that we were right where we were supposed to be. So if you had told me then that we would be back there someday, I probably would've given you the stink eye. Don't get me wrong, Longview was good to us. We learned a lot, we planted roots like we were supposed to and we missed El Sombrero. But going back was so not on our radar. Like ever. As far as our dream place to live? Shoot - give us an island with a tent and we'd be pretty set. We live for the ocean and we crave it when we're not near it. So East Texas? Not exactly our dream.
But - yeah, here comes the but - the Lord has other plans. Should we have left in the first place? Absolutely. I needed Florida. I needed the life change. I needed to be reminded of what family is all about; what that word means and who it really turns out to be in the end. I needed to drench my feet in salt water and watch the sunset. I needed the year long vacation.
The next chapter is about to begin, my friends. The View chapter. We're way more stoked than we thought we'd be. But that's how God works. Sometimes you get knocked down in ways you never thought you would. But the View is always better on the other side.

In other news... Dude has finally started getting more teeth! Naturally, the pain and agony of those little suckers had to come in the midst of one of the most challenging times in our lives. But, hey, we rocked it. Tired eyes and all.


We've also had the privilege of visiting the other side of the spectrum: the Smoky's in all their glory. Having family hidden up there has it's advantages and we've been exploring it in all it's majesty. 


We're refreshed and rejuvenated. Ready for whatever comes next. Watch out, world, Happy's back with a vengeance. Bam

Happy Monday.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Outweigh

My cousins lost their house a few weeks ago. When I say lost, I mean a tree fell and destroyed everything but the beds they were sleeping in. The devastation was unbelievable. Truly blessed to be alive, they've been digging through rubble trying to put their lives back together piece by piece. They found some Christmas ornaments last week. As big as Christmas is in our family,  I know what a cool discovery that must've been.
Sometimes that's how Happy works. She's always there. Sometimes you have to dig for her; sometimes she's hiding underneath what seems to be a devastating mess, but she's always there. Just waiting. A bit like hide and go seek.
That's what we've been learning. Being Bedouins is fun for the first 48 hours. No real plan, no place to be, the world is your oyster. You think of it like a vacation. Then you stop and realize that a vacation is only a vacation when you have a home to return to. 'Cause there's no place like home, right? Some days are discouraging. Happy hides behind a broken fender and reality is hard. No emails, no chance of  the vacation being over, still no plan and the oyster turns out not to be as open as you thought.  But Happy's still there. You'll hear her giggle or see her run behind a tree. She'll remind you to smile even when you don't want to. She'll whisper things like "Good always outweighs bad" and "Look at that rainbow." Happy knows what's up.

Here's what Happy looks like right now...



                                     






Photos taken via Instagram. Follow me @ambertwebb

Happy wants you to find her. She might have a really good hiding place, but she's there. Can you hear her laugh? 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pours

We've said a lot of hard goodbyes over the years. We said a very hard goodbye yesterday. It was one of those that you're ready for, but it still feels like a Mack truck hit you in the gut. Remember that scene in The Parent Trap?  That's what I pictured in my head as that moment began to unfold. We said what we could muster up, hugged more than we needed to and waved in the rain. 
Ben will miss his Uncle Pete and Aunt Ashley. 
I'll miss my brother and sister. 

Emotions have been running high. The coming home part was easy. The "not having a home" part is another story. Micah should be home. We know that. Micah survived something he shouldn't have. We know that, too. But when it rains, it pours. 
And when you cry, you cry a lot. 

I just want to be settled. I want my baby to sleep in his own crib. I want to put groceries away in my own refrigerator. I want somebody somewhere to realize what an awesome asset Micah would be for their company. I want my hubcap back. I want my fender dent free. I want to relax on a beach somewhere. 
But when it rains, it pours. 

I like the rain. But I like the rain when I know the sun will come out afterward. I know it will someday. But when it rains... it pours. 

My dad says this will pass. I'd be okay with that. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

Poppa

We've been Bedouins since July 30th. Everything we own is tetris-packed into a pod with the exception of what we needed in suitcases for said Bedouin activities. We have no real plan. We have no real home. We have a dent in our back fender and a teenie crack in our windshield from a flying rock. Because evidently rocks fly in North Carolina. It's cool, though, and we've been taking advantage of the built in vacation we've been given. We've been seeing family because family's important.We lost one of the patriarchs the day Micah came home.  It was hard. Poppa and Dottie were the best. The perfect grandparents. The kind of people you want to be like. We had a memorial service that lasted long enough to lose track of time. People cried. People laughed. We remembered the legacy.

I didn't feel worthy enough to have shared the stage with those who knew them their whole lives, but this is what I would've said had I worked up the courage.

I didn't know what having a grandfather was like until Poppa. I knew two things about him before the actual meeting: 1) Poppa loved to tell stories and 2) Poppa loved Dottie. You never saw one without the other. They were more in love than newlyweds and more devoted to each other than anyone I'd ever seen. They were the perfect example of what a Godly marriage looks like. Ever since that first get together, Poppa would tell me, "You said you'd be back. I believe you meant it. And I'm sure glad you did."
One of my most cherished moments came in the midst of one of the most painful for me. I had a kidney infection that felt worse than labor pains. The only position that provided any relief was sitting up straight in Dottie's sheep-skinned covered rocking chair in the new kitchen. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't move. I didn't  do anything but cry. Poppa stayed up with me all night. He told me stories, kept reheating the rice-filled homemade heating pad, whistled his favorite tunes and read me his favorite Bible passages. I couldn't imagine anyone else being more gentle and loving. He didn't have to take care of me. He didn't have to stay up all night. He didn't have to be my Poppa. But he was.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bittersweet

As I stare into a neatly stacked pile of brown boxes packed with all of our belongings, my heart is heavy. This odd feeling of bittersweet has become an all too common occurrence around here. It began the day Micah came home. The thrilling adventure of the end was somewhat overshadowed with the passing of our dear Poppa. Not thirty minutes post airport, we got the phone call that Dottie and Poppa were back together again. Our shoulders may have been empty, but soon to be filled with the stresses we had been ignoring. Like moving. Our lease is up so we have to get out. Embarrassingly enough, we didn't see this coming. We knew we'd be moving; we didn't anticipate not having a place of our own to move to. Micah is home. Our family is together. It's the sweet part. Everything else needs a few packets of sweet n' low.


So we might be a little bit broken. We might be a little bit homeless. We might be a little bit impatient. The way I see it hasn't changed, really. You've got two choices: you either smile or you don't. You do what you gotta do. You buck up and push on. You thank God for the little things and trust Him with everything in between.


Back to packing I go.
Gonna grab some sweet n' low while I'm at it.
 Happy Day.  


Monday, July 16, 2012

The End

I had pictured the moment a million times in my head. Sitting with the crowd of fellow waiters, checking my phone every 5 seconds, doing double takes with every tall, blue eyed boy that walks by to make sure I don't miss him. It happened just like the picture. I run, jump and hold on tight. I cry. He laughs that I'm crying. We smile at the audience and walk hand in hand to baggage claim.
"And so it ends." You have no idea how good it felt to type those words that day. It ends. My husband is home. For good. I never have to see an unfamiliar phone number and answer it with sweaty palms. No more sandbox. No more war. No more rockets. No more nightmares. No more news stories. It ends.
There was a moment this weekend that brought it all together for me. We ventured to Cracker Barrel for a birthday breakfast with my parents. [Micah turned 27 yesterday]. Per usual, we spent a few minutes in the rocking chairs. I sat there marveling at my boys. The only thought I had was, "There's nowhere else I'd rather be right now." The weights I'd been sporting for the last two years found a new place to reside. My shoulders are empty, my heart is full and my family is back together. Regardless of what lies ahead for us, we are resting in the fact that we'll be doing it together. And life will be good. Together.
In other news, Ben's surgery went well. Mr. Urologist was pleased with the 3.5 hour surgery and had high hopes for my Benjamin. Jan told me weeks ago that she had witnessed many a surgery in her years of therapy. "You'll be amazed at how quickly he'll bounce back." She wasn't kidding. Despite the two incredibly hard days at the hospital, I was certainly amazed at my little dude's normal, acrobatic ability just three days post battle wound. It's remarkable to see such a big scar in his little body and then watch him maneuver around like nothing happened. I'm grateful, though. Dude is brave. God is good.
This week? We get to know each other again. We figure out how to think long term. We pray hard and hang on tight.

Consider this the end of the chapter 5. Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Roar

Tomorrow is the day. Surgery is on the horizon and my nerves are pretty shot. So shot, in fact, that when Micah told me he was coming home a day early, I actually had a split second of fear that I wouldn't be able to pick him up from the airport due to the fact that Ben may still be in the hospital. Mama Bear instincts have taken over with this chick. I'm still learning how to let go of the reins. Allowing people to help me is not my forte. It took me all morning to convince myself that I needed help when I couldn't manage to get my 102 degree feverish body off the couch to get Ben's lunch out of the fridge a few weeks ago. In addition to opening my own door, I usually politely say, "I'm good" instead of letting the bag boy help me get my groceries in the car. Asking for help is just not my thing, so when I do... people drop what they're doing and run. 'Cause they know it's serious.
So I'm asking for your help. I need your prayers. I need your support. I need your encouragement. I'm overwhelmed and could use a little help carrying the load. I'm stoked Micah's coming home! Seriously - it's in the top 10 of awesome moments. But, on the flip side, there are so many big things facing our lives right now that it's hard to remember what's happening in the small things.
As far as surgery details: Ben will be under the knife for 2.5 - 3 hours and then we will be camping out at the hospital 2 - 3 days post procedure. Since Micah can't be here, my parents are coming up so I don't have to face it alone. If you're in the area and you'd like more information about visiting, message me via Facebook or shoot me an email.

Ben developmental update: He was reevaluated via Mrs. Jan last week and her exact words were, "If it wasn't for his diagnosis, he probably wouldn't even qualify for Early Steps because of how well he's doing." Mama Bear roar. He's also pulling up on everything and is quite proud of himself. 



 
Photos via Instagram: Follow me @ambertwebb


In other news, Miss Blog has reached her 19,000th view. Dude. Overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled that so many of you have shared and enjoyed our story. I've said it before, but when I started this journey I had no intentions of sharing it with the world. I've been writing for years. It's just a part of my make up. I'd rather write a ten page paper than work a math problem any day. That's not to say that I'm entirely confident in my ability. So thank you for reading. Thank you for encouraging. Thank you for allowing me to write down my heart - good, bad and ugly.

I'm looking forward to continuing to share the next chapter. Until then.

"If you've got a book in you, for God's sake -write it!"


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Good

Feeling somewhat inspired tonight. Maybe it's sleepless delirium, maybe it's the Teavana tea I've added to my list of obsessions, maybe it's the fact that my hubs will be home in mere days. Did I mention that?   


Life is good. I know I'm an optimist by nature, but bare with me for a sec. Life is good. For years, I heard how terrible the world is and how we, as Christians, are supposed to be the total opposite of what the world asks. A laundry list of "dont's" that clearly "Satan himself is involved in." Our feathers get riled up when someone mentions having a beer with chicken wings, someone dyes their hair purple and gets a tattoo or seeing a woman holding hands with someone of the same sex. We get angry. Like it's somehow our job to rebuke the devil out of these peoples souls because someone else's sin is somehow greater than our own. Am I the only one who grew up in an ABC (Angry Baptist Church)? Now, don't ban me from your friends list for calling out Baptists churches. I'm not trying to put them in a box because I know a lot of them aren't like that; just telling you my own experience. All I'm saying is - remind yourself of this every so often: sin is sin and you are not God. Our job is not to be angry at the world. It's really not. Our job is to love. We are to pass down God's love. His wrath is not ours to portray. Jesus loves you. Being a Christian has everything to do with this: 


Luke 10: 25-37
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


Live it, dude. You have good news to share. Put down the "God hates you" signs and hug somebody. 


Soak up life because life is good.  


Happy almost Fourth. Eat a hotdog and take your kids to see fireworks. 


Goodnight. 


If you just read that and have further questions, statements or reactions feel free to message me here, send me an email or shoot me a Facebook message. I'd love to chat about what Jesus did for you. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Patience

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 


Those words have been stuck in my mind worse than "It's a Small World" lately. (Sing it with me: It's a small world after all. You're welcome.) I've somewhat dissected Isaiah 40:31 the more I think about it. Patience isn't easy, but patience builds strength. 
If I can be honest, I used to think this patience thing was a bit overrated. We've adopted the "hurry up and wait" mentality these last two years and it hasn't been my favorite mode of living. But then it became clear. Patience builds strength. 
 We've hurried through Micah's months off and then we wait for what seems like eternity for the next month off to roll around. The same holds true this time around except... there's no need to hurry up when he gets here. You read that correctly. Micah is coming home. For good. I can't even wrap my head around that phrase. In fact, I don't even think I'll believe it until I see him walking off the plane for the last time. 
We've grown beyond our years through this experience. We've been challenged in every aspect of our lives and made it. Why? Because patience builds strength. Strength to fight. Strength to stand up for our marriage, our faith, our relationships and our normal. 
There are still a lot of unknowns ahead. More than a lot. And regardless of what happens in the coming weeks, months and years... God is still God, God is still good, and patience should be number one on the virtue list. 


We made it, babe. Come on home. 

 Family of three? Don't mind if I do. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Courageous

Days like today often put Benjamin in perspective for me. I know it might sound silly, but I forget that he has Down syndrome. It's those moments when people stop us and say, "Hey my brother has Downs" or when Mr. Urologist doesn't deliver the news we were expecting. Frankly, Ben's been such a picture of perfection that when something goes a little off kilter it feels like the whole boat could flip at any moment. Maybe it's because of everything else going on in our lives. Maybe it's because it feels like things might pile on until it actually does flip over. Maybe it's because the Lord knows I need lessons in patience and trust.
Regardless, here's the deal...
Dude needs surgery. God gave his bladder a little extra something. Problem is, the extra something isn't allowing his body to get rid of what it's supposed to. So surgery it is. It's a fairly simple procedure, all things considered. [That's me convincing myself that 2-3 hours under the knife and a 2-3 day hospital stay is indeed "simple."] But Micah's right; we've been so blessed with Ben's health. A lot of babies with designer genes have heart issues that require major surgery and so far Ben's heart beats in perfect rhythm. So a bladder diverticulum? Bring it.
I may have choked back tears talking to the doctor. I may have checked out and gotten home wondering if I had actually driven there. I may have felt a little numb while talking to people on the phone. And I may have been reminded of things I needed to hear in those conversations. I also may have realized that I'm not alone in this. I heard this song on the way home and for whatever reason this line stuck with me the rest of the day. "We were meant to be courageous." I know the writers meant for this to be directed to men and encouraging them to be leaders in their families and communities, but I also believe that to be true in our lives right at this moment. God did not give me a spirit of fear. But of power, love and a sound mind. [2 Timothy 1:7] We were meant to be courageous. We got this. No - He's got this. We've got nothing to fear.


So an extra chromosome? Bring it.
Extra bladder pouch? Bring it.
No idea how the next chapter of our story is going to turn out? Bring it. 

I've got my cape and tiara.
[And my pink stilettos. Oh yes.]

Bring. It.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Valley

It's a valley. That's how I would describe the last few weeks of life. We've been here before. God shakes up the snow globe and we just wait for it to settle. The waiting, though? Hardest part.
Some of you have heard directly or through the grapevine what happened on June 1st. If you haven't heard the details, well... tough. It's not something I can broadcast. Just know that the snow globe got blown up and we're working hard trying to pick up the pieces.
People have been asking how we're doing. We're exhausted. Physically, mentally, spiritually, relationally. Just freaking tired. It's been a long two years. We're thankful there's an end in sight, thankful that the end is more than just a fleeting thought; we just don't know what kind of end it's going to be.
With that said, we need your help. We have to get Micah home. If you know of a job opportunity for him anywhere in the continental United States, holler at me. Like literally - grab a blow horn and give your vocal cords a workout. If that doesn't work, email me or shoot me a Facebook message. If you'd like more information about what Micah does and what he's qualified for, add that to the blow horn holler.

There ya have it. Life as we know it currently. We appreciate the prayers and outpouring of bear hugs. Keep 'em coming.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Right Now

I know where Micah is and I know what a dangerous place it can be. Sometimes we forget that we're still at war. People shoot at us, we shoot back. I get it. But when you get a phone call and the voice on the other end begins with, "I'm coming home," you stop in your tracks. Your roller coaster ride hits the breaks and the voice on the loud speaker mumbles something about "Everybody get off." 
The short version is that Micah's reaction and shaken phone call was based off of incorrect information. When the dust settled and what actually happened began to surface, the idea of coming home right now dwindled. He's not hurt. Life is not beyond repair. We just derailed for about 15 hours. 
He will, however, be home in August. That's all that matters right now. 

In Benjamin news, we made it through the bladder test. Dude's got a diverticulum attached to his bladder. It's basically a pouch that's not supposed to be there. The test was to determine whether or not it was storing waste. If it is, we have a problem. We will follow up with the urologist soon and hopefully find out what the next step will be. That's all that matters right now. 

Life is good. Bumps in the road happen. Ours just feel like mountains sometimes. And that's okay. It takes a village to raise a child, right? My village always pulls through. Sometimes I doubt that fact and wonder what God's trying to teach me, but then it pulls through. And that's all that matters right now. 

Happy Weekend.