For the last couple weeks I have been almost overcome with emotions... My heart is just plain hurting for families that I don't even really know. I may have met them in real life or maybe only through the big wide web. But there is a common thread with these families. Children. Not just any children but children with challenges... Kate, Aiden, Gwendolyn, Sophia, Cash, Lucy, Annabelle, Bennett, and tiny twins Lucy and Noah.
Every night I sit in my chair crocheting hats and my mind just spins. I know a long time ago before I was even born there was a plan in place..... a plan that was laid for my life. It just amazes me to know that before I was born, God knew the plan of my life. He knew all the ups and downs, he knew I would be a terrible failure at times and he knew the journey my life would take. In time there is b.c. and then a.d. For me my b.c. was life before Mackenzie. That was a turning point in my life, she literally had more impact on my life in the 21 weeks and 3 days than you would imagine possible.
My journey has brought me to a place where I can say I truly feel I belong, I can feel that God is plotting my steps and most of the time I willing walk and even skip sometimes along the path. Raising my kids, watching my older girls sprout wings and starting a business that benefits others. Through the business I have been acquainted to so many families..... too many families sometimes. Families with medical challenges with their precious children. My heart wants life to be kind and fun, sunny days no rain on the horizon. But, in life there is rain, there must be rain, rain that sometimes comes with thunder and lightning, and with rain comes so many blessings. I know that without the rain there would be no colorful flowers popping through the ground. I remember one time watching a family go through the grief of loosing a child and thinking "I could NEVER walk through that, I would crawl in the closet and not come out". Then one day the unthinkable happened and we lost a precious miracle baby girl. She was taken. Just like that. Then I found that on June 17th when I crawled into our car and headed home with no baby that I "could" do "that". I could put on foot in front of the other. Don't be fooled, I didn't skip, run, heck I sometimes fell to the ground and just cried. BUT, I did "make it". On that journey I learned many things about myself and my God. He was there right beside me. He cried right there with me. He carried us right where we were. From our grief I have learned that Mackenzie's life I was given a heart for others. I was given a chance to be a blessing to others. That maybe I could take a portion of their pain and help them navigate.
Our business tries through our Hats for Hope to get custom made hats for kids and adults going through chemo and other hair stealing disease. If they are old enough we try to involve them in the design and color of the hats. Our deal is easy, you pick a bucket hat, we make it and send it to you and you send us a picture wearing the hat. The faces we see peering out from under the hats melt our hearts. Their smiles enjoying wearing the hats is wonderful. Knowing that even if only a moment they are having fun and smiling. One of the little girls just stole my heart. Little Kate....... 6 years old and such a spunky spirited little girl. We watched and prayed as she went through treatment last year for aggressive brain cancer. We just absolutely rejoiced when her scan came back that she was cancer-free! Now almost 6 mo later her families world has come to a screeching halt as she has once again been diagnosed with brain cancer. In a way I came to the same screeching halt. I just wanted to ignore this, it hurt too much. Sweet Kate was supposed to be okay now.... but her journey with this nasty disease is not over. More treatment, more discomfort, more uncomfortable unknowing. My heart became broken for her and her family. Her parents and her siblings, they all walk this walk.
So back to the title of the post. Yesterday I opened the mail and found myself in tears. Sweet Kate's picture was staring back at me, a reminder that we need to get even more prayer warriors on their knees for this amazing little girl. This card came out of the blue and gave me the familiar tap on the shoulder to call people to pray. To let them know that we would be calling others to pray. The Dr's. are giving less positive outcomes this time than last. This family is coming to grips with the brutal reality that their sweet 6 yr old once again must endure a painful treatment that will no don't leave her sick and without her beautiful golden locks. They have amazed me with not only they're take charge let's go attitude but also they're unwavering faith and transparency.
So now I see I have been a bit like Jonah..... God has been tugging the line and I have been trying to duck and hide. Don't get me wrong, I pray for sweet Kate many times a day. She is one of many children that we pray for on a regular basis. But I am feeling that God is wishing me to do more........ The unexpected card in the mail reminded me of that. So before I am swallowed into the belly of a whale (can I just say ewwwwwww) I am going to do just that. Please pray for Sweet Kate, aren't her eyes just plain beautiful?? almost haunting......
My god is the same today as he was before this relapse for Kate. He healed her before and he will again. My prayers are for healing this side of heaven and peace for this family.
Marriage........... As a child I watched with interest as my parents navigated the waters of marriage. They made it look seamless......... I was so blessed to have a blissful childhood. We lived in a nice home that my Dad had worked and remodeled with his own hands... He worked hard at his job and at home in his off time. I don't even remember seeing a repairman in the house and I don't think we ever took out car "to the shop" to be worked on. My Dad was basically Superman, nothing he couldn't do.
My Mom, was your sitcom Mom. She cooked, cleaned, and handed out discipline. She taught us to do our best and love God. She worked tirelessly to save money and teach us to be good stewards. I never remember her saying she couldn't do something or that we were making her crazy. But as I think back to my childhood the thing I remember the most was that there was no yelling or fighting (well, not my parents anyway). I thought they ALWAYS got along.
As an adult I have strived to be that same parent. I didn't realize till just recently that there were times when Mom and & Dad were NOT happy, they did disagree.... wow! They made a commitment to not fight in front of us or anyone else. They did an awesome job because this shocked me......... It also helped me to realize that in my reality there were fights, they just didn't happen in front of us.
In my own marriages I have struggled......... I'm a bit bossy and controlling.... well, that is because I am right.... lol I like to run the show and keep everything organized. It is so hard to realize that my vision might not be someone else's. There are times you don't get your opinion. Life just sucks sometimes, every once in awhile I hear a tiny tiny voice reminding me that I am my husbands helpmate......... not his leader. He is supposed to be mine... Boy, that one is hard for me!
Lately we are struggling a bit, neither of us are contemplating running towards any doors but we are butting heads more than we need to. It is stealing our joy and our time, let me say there is precious little time to spare. We each try in half-hearted attempts, and then fall on our face. Tim is incredibly busy and work and home is the same...... busy, busy, busy. Our hat businees is taking off with is wonderful!! I have been steadily busy since the fall.... great news.... well almost. With the busy comes the problem of balancing time. Tim works a lot of hours and with the kids activities keep us off our rocker busy. So, last week I decided that I was hauling our behinds to the church for a marriage conference. Have you ever attended one? They are incredible, such a good day and our hearts were renewed..... Now to figure out how to keep them that way.
Tim, I love you so much. You try to keep us together and when we work together there is nothing we can't do~
Life just keeps rolling doesn't it? I wake in the morning and hit the floor running. Some days I wonder as I try to pry my eyes open what will the day bring, will it be a good day, will the kids try to drive me crazy fighting over who did what? Will I walk through my day feeling scattered or blessed. In my life I find one thing to be true. No matter what life will just keep rolling.......
There are days when I think I may explode from the sorrow I feel for too many families..... cancer, SMA, surgeries, broken hearts... their days continue to roll too. Fear, grief, and pain.... I want so much to be a help, our lives have been right there in the trenches too. When we lost our sweet baby Mackenzie I truly thought I would just roll into a ball and stay there... You see we had just slid through our days being "good" keeping ourselves inside our own little box. Not really worrying about the lives of others. When I lost her my world was upended.
You see Mackenzie was my wake up call...... she was my angel, she still is. She keeps me grounded and always carrying for others. Because of her I "happened" upon the video that introduced me to the horrors of SMA, and connected me with some awesome families that dealt with the loss of their babies too soon, and some that are fighting to rid their children of the cancer that threatens to steal their children. She has guided my path as we opened our little store and given me a heart to live outside myself.....
After being told by someone that "you give away too much" I got into my car and turned one the radio. Matthew West's My Own Little World came spilling out.... I literally cried as I drove along listening to the words of the song. God doesn't always tap you on the shoulder sometimes he hits you with a ball bat. I KNOW we are doing exactly what he wants us to. I know that I will spend each day trying to do more.
SMA has impacted my life is a crazy way. Nobody in my family has had SMA, none of my friends have children with SMA. But, I have come to respect and be inspired by the families that fight the battle everyday. The children..... oh the children, they are so incredible. They are so bright, they live in a world that restricts their movement. They need help to do most things but they are the most brilliant inspiring kids. One look into their eyes and I know I need to do more. Winter is a scary time for children that have SMA. So many germs, so many illnesses, hospitalizations and those lead to more trouble. To date just in the month of January 9 children have died......... gone. How can we all not be tossing every bit of spare change to research for a CURE!??!
Easy math tells me that SMA will knock at the door of someone I know soon. If that is so then it will knock on the door of someone you know too.... think we need to find that cure?? 1 in 40 people are carriers of the disease.
Well, first let me say I am doing quite the awful job of posting once a week in 2011! Gosh, You would think I could pull it together, life is so crazy and I am trying to catch it! Does that ever happen.... do you ever catch up?
In an effort to "enjoy" more and not allow time to slip away we have set up a standing "ski" day this winter. Monday is Kendall's dance class, Tuesday is ski day and Wednesday is piano for the boys and church. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are flex days. Enjoy the following pictures of our ski days!
For the last week we have been singing praises to God. My friend Racquel and her husband Jonathan welcomed adorable twin babies to the world! They are tiny, born by c-section at 34 weeks, these babies have been prayed and longed for by this sweet family. Sweet Noah and Lucy just might be the luckiest babies born in a long time. I have been blessed to visit them a couple times and they are so precious! When it was time to discharge Racquel they found out that the hospital has a policy that allows her to stay at the hospital in her room until the babies can be released! Great news with the wintery weather and slippery roads.
big prayers for the Stewarts and the Flemmings.... (sweet Bennett gets to come home next week!)
How did that happen? Another year just slipped under the rug, a year full of activities and memories... Last night I packed up 4 of our 5 kiddos and drove them the 2+ hour drive to my parents house. You see, last night was the infamous BIG party! My parents have been hosting a kids only New Years Party for almost 30 years! 30! They invite all the grandkids and any of their friends, any of their friends. They spend the days right after Christmas until December 30th preparing for this no holds barred, no rules, night of fun! Well, atleast thats what I hear.... as an adult I am not aloud to enter and be a part of the fun.
I then hop in the car and drive 2+ hours home and get ready for our "party". Tim picks up wings for him and chinese for me. We sit and watch a movie and sometimes even fall asleep. This year we actually missed the ball drop, yep, we got engrossed in the movie and missed it totally. But you know what 2011 came anyway.....
Then today I got up hopped back in the car and drove the 2+ hours back to Mom and Dad's to have our traditional New Years lunch. We all had a great time and once again Mom and Dad outdid themselves, love love love to keep traditions!
Back in the car and head home..................... ugh! the only bad part is that darn car thing!
I am a Mom to 6 great kids, 5 here and 1 in heaven, wife to a wonderful husband who I think really "gets" me most of the time. A Mom on a mission to teach my children... and often myself how to live Christ filled lives. Moving through the challenges and trying to understand the "whys".
Striving daily to live a life that reflects God's love and grace.