Saturday Shenanigans

Saturday Shenanigans

I cannot believe I posted NOTHING in the month of August.  Life, y’all.  It is so good and full!

Here is our last month with some pictures from my phone.

Dustin had a little foot surgery on July 26th which was much needed.  During the recovery it was fun to have him at home with us for a few days with his foot elevated.  He has much less foot pain now than he had before, so we are praising the Lord for the successful surgery!  (No pictures of this…you are welcome!)

On August 2nd, we celebrated our 14th anniversary.  Since Dustin needed to elevate his foot that night (and needed to work that day), the girls set us up a little romantic table for two and served us a nice dinner.

We have kept my niece a few times over the last month…she is so much fun and loves time with her cousins.  She even yells, “Cousins!” when she sees the girls.

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We went to the beach with said niece a few weeks ago and had a great time enjoying some sun, the solar eclipse and a quick trip to Charleston to see my cousin and meet her daughter.  My aunt and uncle were in Charleston for the week also so we got to visit with them also…I tried to get a picture of the children together…but it was dark and I lack photography skills.

We started school earlier in August and I tried my hand at first day pictures…

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We learned about Snapchat (I know…we are so behind the times).  I like being behind the times, thank you very much!

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And last, but not least, Dustin and I were asked to help facilitate a class in our area for families who have lost a baby.  It starts in a few weeks, but there is still some room if you know of someone who would like to join this class.

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I am so grateful to God for so many things right now.  My cup overflows.

 

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B & D

B & D

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We have this little friend who I will call “B.”  He comes and hangs out with us two days a week or so.  He has since he was eight months old.  Now he will tell you he is a BIG boy at his four years of age.

And this little guy is awesome!  His favorite thing to do as of late is to help me with everything.

A few days ago “everything” include dusting with sock puppets and wrapping birthday presents and making sure the gift had lots of tissue “hair.”  (Isn’t that what everyone calls the extra tissue paper we feel obligated to put atop each gift bag?  If it has a name and you know it, let me know in the comments below.)

So in our cleaning with sock puppets (mine ate more dust than his), he came across a round box.  And being the fabulous little gent that he is, he asked if he could open the box before he removed the lid.

I gave him permission and watched him open Daniel’s box. It was given to us at the hospital when Daniel died.  In it I have put things that remind me of him over the years.

Blue knitted caps that were given to us.

Blue and white stones used in a flower arrangement at his funeral.

An ultrasound picture.

B was thoroughly confused when I told him that the ultrasound was a picture of my baby Daniel in my belly.

Lets be completely honest:  ultrasound pictures are not the clearest.  I remember thinking one of my children looked like a primitive dinosaur at one ultrasound…

Anyway, I could tell that B was a little confused and he always desires to understand everything in the world around him.

So I offered to show him Daniel’s baby book.  B absorbed every picture into his brain as I explained that Daniels’s body could not survive here on earth and he had to go to heaven to be healed.  And I reminded him that we would see Daniel in heaven one day!

But B kept looking at the ultrasound pictures asking if this was an eye and that a foot.

Then he looked at me with all the honesty of a little fellow trying to figure out this great big world around him and said, “When I was a baby, I was in….” and he looked like he could not find the words to articulate what he wanted to say.  He looked at me a few minutes longer and I realized he could not remember her name.  I said his birth mother’s name out loud.

He said, “Yes, I grew in her tummy.”

And I realized that there are two little boys in my life who live apart from their birth moms.

Daniel lives in heaven with Jesus.  And B lives with his aunt who is all he has ever known as a mother.

And in both cases it is good.  God’s plans don’t always make sense to us here on earth but we can trust that He is always at work and we are never alone on our journey.

I praise the Lord for providing shelter and protection to my little buddies B & D!

The Lord is the strength of his people;
    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:8-9

 

Our Day

Our Day

Today I found a new mission in life.  I had never even thought this would be on my radar, but alas, today I needed drugs and I had to travel far and wide to find them.

Yesterday, I woke up with my left eye a little irritated.  I got ready like normal and even put in my contact lenses, but soon discovered that my eye needed a break.  So I took them out and opted for my new glasses.  I thought I would just rest my eye for a day or two and all would be well.

This morning I looked at my eye and realized it was really red.   While it did not have a thick mucus like I had had at a younger age when I had the dreaded pink eye, it was not normal.  I read online and found that if you have a bacterial infection in your eye, it could clear itself up, but it could also cause permanent eye damage.

No, thank you!

I also read online some home remedies for pink eye or a bacterial infection.  Let me just amuse you with these.  If anyone has tried any of these, please let me know how it felt to do this home remedy and if it helped.  But I’ll be honest, as soon as I read these, my eye was hurting more than it had before.  Just read what the internet will tell you to try at home!:

HOME REMEDY #1:  Mix apple cider vinegar with distilled water and squeeze a soaked cotton ball on your eye.  

No way, Jose!  Not me.  I believe in all things with Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar…but only on my skin or in my tummy.  Lo siento, amigo.  

HOME REMEDY #2:  Mix baking soda with distilled water and apply to the eyelids.  

No, sir!  I will not be trying that at home!  

HOME REMEDY # 3:  Mix milk and honey and create an eye rinse.  

Really?!!??  Do I need raw milk or organic milk?  Should it be pasteurized?  Homogenized?  Will my eye stick together?  Do I follow-up this treatment with a warm water rinse?  

HOME REMEDY #4:  Brew a cup of chamomile tea and remove the tea bag.  Let cool and then apply to the eye.

I would be more willing to try this.  It seems almost like a normal idea 🙂  

HOME REMEDY #5:  Dilute fresh lemon juice with cold water and use as a rinse.  

If lemon juice on a cut hurts as much as it does, what would that feel like in my irritated eye?  Who wrote this list of home remedies?  Did they try them out?  

As you can tell, my internet research was not helpful.  If anything, I realized that if my eye had any bacteria in it, I could have some potential long-lasting effects so I called my eye doctor this morning and was so thankful that they had an appointment this morning!  I was praising the Lord all the way there!  (Sorry/not sorry for the comic…it made me laugh!)

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After he did all of his looking at my eye, the doctor determined that I had a bacterial infection and he would treat it with prescription eye drops.  His assistant verified our pharmacy and we headed there.

Upon arrival, I noticed a missed call from our pharmacy so I listened to the message only to find out that they did not have the drops in stock but could get them in a day or so.

Hmmm.

Then I pulled up to the drive-thru window to discuss my options with the pharmaceutical assistant.   She looked on the computer and said that they had at the drops at their other branch about thirty minutes away.

Here is where I will just confess my laziness:  there were four other (Maybe more) pharmacies within walking distance of our regular pharmacy, but because my insurance is on file with them and I don’t mind a little drive (and actually had another errand near the far away pharmacy), I just opted to go to the other same-brand pharmacy.  The assistant said she would transfer my prescription and call to make sure they had it ready for me.

How delightful, I thought!

When I arrived at the other pharmacy, the staff there looked at me like I had a third eyeball and quickly let me know that they did not have the eye drops in stock.  What?!?  How had that happened!?!  But this pharmacy offered to call all the other pharmacies in the county and see if anyone had them.

They did not.

So we tried one more pharmacy back in Boone and alas, they had them.  The only problem was that I had four children in tow who I had taken to Boone and then up to Ashe county and I was not about to make them ride back to Boone to get these drops.  I would just have to wait until Dustin was heading home for him to pick them up.

And he did.  Not only that, when he got home with them, he opened them and has been administering my eye drops so that I don’t have to try to navigate the eye drops in the eye without touching the eye scenario.  He knows me well.

But as I was thinking about all of this, I realized something.  I think we all are searching for something.  Running from place to place to find what we think we need.  Today I needed medication for my eye and I went all around the High Country to make sure I had what I needed.

But how often do we go out of our way and all around the town to get what we think we need.  Acceptance by a certain group.  Approval by that one person.  Love (in whatever love language you speak).

I am thankful that I got these eye drops today – my eye is feeling better already after two treatments!  But I hope that instead of running after personal gain all my days, I run after Jesus and seek Him because I need Him.  Every Hour.  Every Day.

Nothing else can fill the void left when we do not pursue Him.  I want to run after Him every day of my life and encourage you to seek Him and find Him!

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29

(And if you see me in the next two weeks, just remind me how nice my glasses look since that is all I can wear until my follow-up appointment!  Thanks!)

Our VBS week

Our VBS week

IMG_2756Last week we had planned to participate in a local VBS.  Ruthie and I were to be crew leader and helper since she is officially too old for attending VBS (cue the tears).

Earlier in June, Ruthie and I attended two training meetings, got our matching crew leader t-shirts, and began praying for the crew that would be assigned to us.

Monday morning we met the seven sweetest children who were in our crew!  Ruthie manned the clipboard taking attendance and giving out name tags as I met each child.

We learned the new VBS songs complete with movements and we had the greatest Monday!  Ruthie and I went home praying for our crew and looking forward to the next few days.

Then Monday afternoon, Ruthie laid down on the couch and almost fell asleep. When she woke up, I knew something was not right.  Feeling her forehead, I began to realize that our week’s plans might be changing.

By Friday afternoon, she was feeling back to normal, but VBS ended on Thursday evening.  Ruthie missed the last three days of it!

Thankfully, the VBS directors had volunteers ready to be substitute crew leaders in case a crew leader had to miss unexpectedly.  VBS went on without us, much to our dismay.

But on the second day of being home, Ruthie looked at me and asked me, “Why would God allow me to miss this?  Why would He allow me to get sick when all I wanted to do is help these little children understand how much Jesus loves them?”

That is a hard question to answer.

Why would God want us to miss an opportunity to share God’s love?

I held Ruthie close as the tears streamed down her face.

I explained to her that sometimes God allows things that we don’t think are best, but we have to trust that He is at work even when we do not understand what is happening.

There are several situations in my life like that right now.  Maybe you can relate – you cannot understand what God is doing or why a situation is as it is.  But we can take our frustrations and our desire for wisdom and understanding to Him and ask Him to fill our cups.  And He will.

Maybe not as quickly as we would like.  But He is always there working and our job is to acknowledge Him and to trust Him…that is what faith is, right?

This week I have asked for wisdom and understanding in the midst of situations I cannot explain.  I may not understand (or like what is going on), but I know God is with me and He will make my path straight.

For that I am eternally grateful!

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

 

 

Feel the Rain

Feel the Rain

I am so thankful that the Lord has not given up on me over the years.  He keeps refining me and taking me through situations I would never have asked for or wanted to experience…oh, but the Lord has plans for good!

One day in the middle of a lengthy wet spell, we were all getting a little stir crazy, some more than others in our home.  So when the rain let up a bit and someone asked to go outside, I said, “Yes!”

I figured a little wetness would not hurt…it could be a prelude to a real shower upon re-entrance to our dry abode!

When I looked outside, this is what I saw:

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I watched.   Stunned.  What was this child of mine doing?  Dressed in a pink and blue beret, a cute skirt, the smelliest sparkly Toms any child has ever worn and a beautiful wool coat with faux fur collar, just three sizes too small.

I just watched…wondering if I should make her come inside, but she was enjoying her time outdoors so much.  And honestly, I could tell she needed this freedom from our own four walls.

I snuck outside to get a picture of her in the rain, walking around with her hands held out, just happy as a clam.  So I joined her in the great (wet) outdoors, took her picture (unbeknownst to her) and asked her, “Lee, what are you doing?”

“I am feeling the rain.”

And such is life with her – she feels the rain in every situation.  When life is sad, her eyes fill with tears. When life is funny, she rolls with laughter.  When she sees an injustice, she burns with anger.  When she sees a need, she does her best to meet it.  When someone is sad, she gives them warm hugs.  She is not afraid to feel every emotion and to love every person she meets.

Before the Lord gave me Lee, I would steer clear of all these emotions and feelings…

God gave me Lee because He knew I needed her.  I needed to learn to feel the rain.  To live my life to the fullest and to enjoy every minute of it…whether rain or shine.

And I have learned to thank the Lord for both.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139:23-24

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

The Eagle Baby, Waiting on the Lord and My Word of the Year

A few weeks ago, my husbband sent me an e-mail.

Romantic, huh?!?

We do that sometimes because it is easier than trying to cover all our bases when he is home and EVERYONE is vying for his attention.

This particular e-mail was an enthusiastic encouragement to show the girls the eagles who are sitting on their nest waiting for new babies to be born.

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I passed this e-mail by until later when he was home for the holidays and he asked our oldest if I had shown them the eagles.

Oops…MOM FAIL.  I had skimmed the e-mail, deemed no immediate action necessary and gone on to the next action item.

So he got the computer and pulled up the eagle-cam of the eagle sitting on the nest with two eggs beneath her beautiful feathers.  It was quite amazing to sit and watch.

I know this because as a family, we set the computer up in a prominent spot so that we could watch.  And this is what I heard throughout that day:

“She moved!”   “I see the eggs.”   “I think I see a crack!”  “This must be the daddy bird!”

At first I was fixated on the screen.  What was so amazing about this?  Yes, this is our national bird and at one time it was considered extinct.  But this momma and daddy bird are just doing their jobs.  They are doing what comes naturally…so why the big fuss?

But every morning after the initial eagle introduction from daddy, my oldest daughter would check to see if a baby had hatched yet.  And finally, one little cotton ball was hatched and we have enjoyed seeing its cute little being when mama moves from the nest.

It has been like the ordinary has become extraordinary.  Like doing what comes naturally is all of a sudden supernatural.

Then today I read a familiar passage from Isaiah:  “They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  (40:30-31)

After I read this verse, I recollected the eagle I had watched.  They are beautiful birds and they are so powerful.  Truly amazing creatures.

So I re-read the Isaiah verses and was encouraged that at the strength of eagles doesn’t come from doing everything perfectly or from running yourself ragged…quite the opposite…it comes from waiting on the Lord.

Doing what God called you to do, and wait for the Lord to lead you each step of the way.

These sweet eagles and a few books that I have been reading lately (which I will share soon) have encouraged me as I chose my word for this year.

So without further ado, my word for this year is:  LIVE.

LIVE – as in live each day to the fullest; as in live and do not be afraid; as in for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.  Live while I am waiting and live while I am soaring because life is for the living.

Not for the contemplating, overthinking, fearing and/or watching.  (All of which I have done in the past).  It is for the living.

Living means choosing to be in the present.  Living means choosing to enjoy the waiting, knowing that God has something in store for you…you must be faithful each step of the way.

Live.

Live each day to its fullest potential.

Not for my glory, but for God’s glory.

Because it is all about Him…for His glory and His grace.

What about you?  Do you have a word this year?  A verse?  I would love to hear others’ word/verse/thought!  It is always encouraging to hear what others are doing as well!!!

“Encourage one another and build one another up…”  1 Thessalonians 5:11

 

 

Thank You!!!

Thank You!!!

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I just want to take a minute and thank everyone who has supported me on this book project this year!

To those of you who have purchased a copy, THANK YOU!

To those of you who listened to God and sent money so that the words and pictures could become a book, THANK YOU!

To those of you who read and offered feedback, THANK YOU!

To those store owners who are carrying the book, THANK YOU!

To those of you who have donated books to local radio stations, hospitals and funeral homes, THANK YOU!

This time last year, I was not sure how this would all pan out…or if it would ever come to fruition.  Honestly, I could only see one step at a time.  The big picture overwhelmed me!

I am excited to see what God will do with this book in 2017.  And what other plans He has for our lives.

I wrote this book because God laid it on my heart.  I hope it will bless others who have an infant loss.  God directed each step of the way and confirmed those steps in amazing ways.  I don’t know what His plans are for this book or for me in 2017, but I am thankful to know Him.  And I trust Him.  More than ever!

” And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17