Life is different when you have a child with special needs. Seasons of life that come and pass for the 'average' family stay longer than can be enjoyed. Issues that most parents are able to identify and deal with are issues that seem to stay and be dealt with over and over again. Sometimes, years at a time. It gets long. It requires patience and in most cases it can drain patience over and over again. Christian parents with a special needs child find themselves often praying and asking for wisdom, answers and more patience.

We did not plan on having a special needs child. Does anyone ? Our special needs child came to us through adoption. We had filled out the forms and told them that we were not parents that were able to handle a special needs child. Then God brought us Zak. His needs were hidden. Looking back, our eyes were blind to the needs he had. If I was to adopt again today, having had Zak for the past 8 years, I would see right away that something was not right. But 8 years ago I saw nothing but a little boy who needed a family to love him. I think that is exactly what God wanted me to see. It was His plan. Eight years ago I believed that with time and a lot of love Zak would be a 'normal' kid. That all the things that they kept pointing out to me would disappear. I firmly believed that love could cure anything.

I was wrong.

Having a special needs child drains so much of you. The thing that has amazed me the most is how having a special needs child is a 24/7 job. It requires you all the time. The time it takes to invest in the needs of the child can drain you. There is constant pressure. Pressure from wondering if he is up - again - getting into something; to the pressure you get from dropping him off at Sunday school and sitting in your chair constantly watching the door for them to come and get you. What used to be easy - (going to church, doing school, shopping) - is always hard. Eight long years of hard. The hard does not go away like it does for the Mom with the baby in the car seat and the heavy diaper bag thrown over her shoulder. It stays. It lingers. It is always there. The seasons of life don't change. He does not grow and mature like other kids - he just grows. You still have to watch him in the store the same way you watched him in the store when he was two.

The pressure, as of late, has been intense. I am drained and know that some decisions will need to be made. Other options are being explored from having someone come in and offer respite care for him to enrolment in a special needs program. They are hard decisions; but ones that are needing to be made. It is easy to fear the unknown; but faith says that God can lead - even where we have never been. Please pray for us. We need God's direction. We need something more for Zak. We are committed to him - to giving him the care that he needs; but we realize that we are unable to continue to provide that for him by ourselves. We need help. We are praying that God will show us from where that help is to come.

We are so thankful for Zak. We have invested so much into him and so thankful that our Heavenly Father has a lot invested in him too. So, we wait, tired, drained and a bit discouraged knowing that God will lead.

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did.


I Will Win

On Saturday evening I finally made it over to the garden. With the surgeries and recovery time I have not been there for about a month. The day before my first surgery I went out and got everything ready for being gone for a few days. I did not anticipate having two major surgeries and recovery time longer than I had originally planned. So, besides one short visit to the garden after my first surgery this was my very first time there in a month.

It was sad. There were weeds. Then there were some more weeds. Then, you guessed it, more weeds.

If I needed something visual to make me feel like a total and complete failure the garden did it!
It amazed me how quickly the weeds could take over and with what vitality and gusto they have claimed their ground.

I refuse to be defeated, however. Come Monday - - I will prevail. The weeds will be dominated; and that 40 x 40 plot will look like I am a gardener at heart. Unfortunately, I am still unable to do much; and much is required for me to get this garden back into shape!

Enter: four energetic children.

Labor laws will be violated tomorrow. Children will be working. There will be complaining. I will not relent until that garden looks like it is ready for a Better Homes and Garden photo shoot. I plan on waking up at the crack of dawn, rousing the troops, assembling a good wholesome breakfast and heading out the door.

Note: The theory for the crack of dawn is not completely to build character; but rather to protect pride. There is no way on God’s green earth that I want any other community gardener to see who is responsible for the patch of weeds that houses our garden.

I will win. I will have a garden area worth putting my name on.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did. Happy Gardening to all…

Film Credits

With recovery looming ahead, Rob was a good Dad and husband and went to the library to find some kid friendly movies for the two little ones. This has been a lifesaver for me. He was able to bring home some Bible story movies. Zak and Anna love these movies. I got a kick out of Zak telling me about which movie he wanted to watch one afternoon.

Me: “Which movie do you want to watch, Zak?”
Zak: (Picking up the movie about Moses) I think I will watch this one. (Looking down at the case and taking a hard look at the movie) “Yes, it is this one.”
Me: You want to watch the Moses movie?
Zak: That’s the one. God’s in that one. He plays the burning bush. Yes, that’s the one I want to watch.

He is always good for a great laugh! With Zak around there is always a laugh looming in the near future

Slowly Moving Forward

Things have been slow moving here. Literally. I am still struggling to walk upright and with my back straight. I have given birth four times – all naturally and without drugs. I have had several different surgeries in my life time – 5 to be exact. However, I have NEVER been in as much pain as I have been experienced in the past 4 days!

On June 9th I had a preplanned surgery done that needed to be done for some time. The surgery went very well and I was feeling like I was getting back to my normal self. About a week after the surgery I started to experience some pain and an infection was found; and quickly treated with antibiotics at home. The infection pain got better but new pain developed. I was readmitted into the hospital; and a battery of tests run. After much pain meds (one nurse helping me to the bathroom actually used the word ‘stoned’ to describe the state of mind I was in due to all the pain meds), it was assumed that there were two possible options for the pain. One was an infection in lining of the rib cage, causing inflammation and pain; the other was that the first surgery had actually caused my gallbladder to go berserk. I was sent home on more pain meds, and told we would wait it out a few days to see if the pain got better due to the inflammation being gone from the rib cage. Unfortunately, this did not happen! The pain not only did not get better, it got worse. It was decided last Wednesday morning that I would have surgery to have my gallbladder taken out. I found out of this plan one hour before I was due at the hospital to be prepped for surgery.

The surgery went well. I woke up in more pain that I have ever felt in my life. I have since found out the walking takes stomach muscles. Laughing requires them too; as does coughing. The first night home I thought I was going to go out of my mind due to the pain. I have never laid so still in my entire life. Each day has gotten a lot better; but it has been a trip – and not necessarily a fun one at that! Due to having two major operations in two weeks time; plus another surgical procedure that used anesthetic – I have been quite tired. I will fall asleep while I am talking to someone. It has made for some interesting memories of days in a blur. I also am still on a good dose of pain killers that inhibits cognizance and memory. For example, I have a doctor appointment tomorrow – I can not for the life of me remember the time of the appointment.

Other than that, I have been overwhelmed by the love that has been showed to us by so many of our friends. Meals have been sent, birthday parties hosted (Rachel’s 18th), cards and notes received daily in the mail, and countless friends have driven all the way out here to make a house call. God truly has showed His loving care for us through our friends. I have no doubt of His love for me! He is a great God.

The kids have undertaken such responsibility at the house. Abbey has almost run the house by herself. I am amazed at how much that girl can do and how busy she keeps herself. She has truly been a blessing to me! Rachel has been my side kick at the doctor visits, hospital stays and surgery waiting rooms. It has felt odd to have the roles reversed from this time last year – now it is her holding my hand while I am in the bed. I have been so blessed to have her with me. As is normal in our house when a crisis situation arrives, Rob started at a new store the week that I had my second surgery. He has been overwhelmed with a host of new job responsibilities, personnel management and just getting used to a new environment. James has been able to be his side kick and help him out with the jobs that have found him in his new store. We have laughed at how ironic it was that this also happened when Rachel was in the hospital last year. Overall, this has been a pretty smooth transition. God has been good.

I think it will still be a while till I am back on my feet again; but it is coming. Abbey walked into the room yesterday and said, “Wow, you look like Mom finally!” So I am trying to take it easy. The kids have their lists for Dad when he gets home – lists of what I did that they did not think I should have done. (Walking upstairs, doing my hair or the dishes or watering my herb garden outside) It has given Rob and I a few laughs after everyone is in bed. I am surrounded by little police that are watching my every move. It feels good to be loved.

I am blessed and thank God for a body that He has made that heals. I have enjoyed quiet times with Him in prayer and Bible reading and that has been such a blessing. Psalm 91 has been such a blessing to me at this time. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty!” He has been my shelter and help and granted me peace that has far surpassed my understanding! I am so thankful for His presence it has been felt as I was wheeled into the operating room ( so much so that I felt no fear), in the machine as I was enduring a three hour test in closed quarters ( I slept, uninhibited by fear or alarm), in the recovery room as I prayed through the pain, and in the ER as I endured 14 hours of pain (I felt a great blessing just counting my blessings and thinking of how good God has been to me!). He has been my strength. I have known He was there with me as clearly as if I could see Him. He has whispered my name through the night and I will never be the same.

Thanks for your prayers. God is good all the time!

Mixed Emotions

July 4, 1997 I brought our third daughter home from the hospital. She was just a tiny little thing; but perfect in every way. We celebrated her homecoming listening to fireworks and the neighbors celebrate the holiday.

She was with us for just a few short months. She laughed early, loved to snuggle and had the biggest bluest eyes I have ever seen. She was loved every day she was here. There was not a day that we did not spend with her. She was with us from the start until the last unexpected day.

It amazed me how one so small can come into my life, stay for such a short time, and make such a big impact. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about her. There is not a summer that passes that I do not think of that summer that we had with her. I wonder about what she would look like if she was here? What would she like? What would she dislike? What would her personality be like? All the questions have no answers this side of Heaven. I have learned that not all questions need answers.

It always seems odd when July first rolls around the corner. Odd, that a day that held such significance in our lives passes now quietly. Free from celebrations and festivities. It is a quiet realization that something big and wonderful happened on this day – but it is over now. How does one celebrate the birthday of a child who is no longer there? A day that should be happy – now is overcast with sadness even though the heart wills it to be different. So, I wish her a happy birthday in my heart and ponder once again if there is anything we can do to make this day bear some significance. I am once again without answers – perhaps next year I will think of something - - something to celebrate her – the fact that she was, and will always be in my heart. But alas, this year I just wish her a happy birthday.

Ally, I will always love you. Happy Birthday, my little one. I am so glad that you were, and that you are, and that you will always be - at peace. There is comfort knowing you are there waiting for me. Someday we will celebrate your birthday for the very first time and have all eternity to celebrate being together. I wait for that day. I Love you.