Counting Our Blessings

Christmas Eve plans included going over to our Pastor’s house to fellowship and enjoy playing games. Rachel and Abbey had to run an errand and they took the little car and would meet us at our Pastor’s house around six that evening.

We had a wonderful time eating snacks and lots of desserts, playing games, and laughing together. The teens and young people were in the front room enjoying games and the adults were in the kitchen around the table playing trivia games and getting to know each other better. Anna and Zak were in the den playing with the kid toys and enjoying the ‘new’ toys more than you can imagine!

We started wrapping up the evening around a quarter to nine. I was helping Anna put all the toys back and Rob was trying to keep Zak in line as we got ready to go. Rachel came and told me her and Abbey were leaving. I told them that we would be leaving shortly. Our plans were that we would unwrap one gift before bed. (Something Anna kept reminding me of as we finished putting the last toys in the tote and finding her jacket.)

We got the little kids buckled into their seats and James climbed in the back with the leftover desserts in his hand. I looked at the clock as we backed out of the parking spot, the clock read: 9:10. I picked up m cell phone to call Rachel and tell her that the door was locked at the house but that we would be there shortly to let her in. I noticed as I got ready to dial her number that I had missed a call. Just then I heard someone calling for us and running towards the van with a cell phone. It was the Pastor’s daughter.

I watched as Rob was talking on the phone and could hear Rachel on the other end; but could not make out what she was saying. Rob did not look too alarmed and then handed the phone to me after he told her to tell me where she was. He told me to find out where she was. The pastor’s daughter asked him if Rachel was OK. I heard him tell her that he was sure she was and that we needed to find her.

Rachel’s voice was extremely calm as she told me that she had wrecked the car. I assumed that she was in the ditch somewhere and was not too concerned. I told her that she needed to tell me where they were. She said she was not sure. The fog was so thick. I told her that we were pulling out of the driveway and asked her which way we needed to turn. She told me and I told Rob. Then I asked her what was wrong with Abbey. (I could hear her crying in the background.)

Rachel told me that Abbey had hit her head. I told Rachel that I was not going to get off the phone with her and to tell Abbey that we were on our way to them. (Still I was just assuming that they were in a ditch somewhere up the road a ways and wanted them to know that we were coming for them.) I told Rachel to tell Abbey that we were coming. Rachel said she was on the ground. I asked her where she had hit her head. Rachel said, “I don’t know. I think it was when the airbags went off.”

Suddenly, my paradigm changed! I questioned, “The airbags went off?”

“Yes, and I hit a tree. There is a lady with Abbey right now and they called 911.”

I put the phone down over my chin and told Rob that they had hit a tree, the airbags had gone off and 911 had been called. He looked concerned. I then asked Rachel which way I needed to turn at the upcoming intersection. She said she was not sure. She was all turned around in the fog. I asked her to put on the lady that was helping Abbey.

I questioned the lady as to their location. She told me where they were and I instructed Rob that he needed to turn around. Rachel had made a wrong turn and it was down the other road. I heard a lot of voices and a lot of confusion, and then Rachel was back on the line. She seemed disoriented. I assured her that we were almost there.

Then we saw the flashing lights.

They were getting the body board out of the ambulance and I had to will myself to stay in the van until Rob got it over to the side of the road. I ran to Abbey who was behind the car and crying in the grass. The paramedics were working on her. As I ran up to Abbey I saw Rachel run into Rob’s arms.

“I am her mother, and I am not leaving her side, “ I heard myself addressing the paramedic who was holding Abbey’s neck in place and telling her to focus on her breathing. I then sat by Abbey and told her it was going to be OK. I remember asking the man in uniform if she had been thrown from the vehicle and they assured me she had not. I helped them role her onto the board and helped Velcro the neck brace into place and watched as they taped her head into a stationary position.

I knelt in the grass and talked to her. I told her to think of her favorite Bible verse and promised her God was with her. I listened to her cry; and told her God was with her and to breathe deeply. She kept telling me that her head hurt. I called our Pastor’s wife to tell her what was going on; and handed the phone to Rob for him to give Pastor directions as to where we were – I was not sure. I knew that Pastor was on his way.

I was completely at peace. I was not shaking or crying and I felt God was right there with us. Overwhelming peace filled my heart. A total peace I can not explain. God is good.

As I was walking along the stretcher toward the ambulance I saw the State Trooper asking Rachel what happened. She explained that she had gotten turned around and could not tell where she was with fog. She was trying to get back to our Pastor’s house so she could get her bearings and figure out which way it was to home. While she was trying to find the correct street she did not see the curve and went off the road and into the tree. He asked her if they had been wearing their seat belts and Rachel assured him that they both had them on at the time of the accident. The officer told her that it was not her fault. The fog was so thick that night the ambulance had almost missed the curve coming to the scene. He informed her that he was glad she and Abbey were OK and that he would not be issuing a citation because she had not been negligent or reckless in her driving.

Abbey continued to be in a lot of pain as they worked on stabilizing her breathing and blood pressure. It appeared that we were looking at possibly a broken leg or shoulder. I was thankful that we were not looking at a life or death situation and I went out and told Rachel, Rob and Pastor that Abbey was doing OK. They allowed me to ride in the ambulance with them to the hospital. Rob followed behind. Pastor and a couple of his daughters took Zak, Anna and James home. Rachel had been treated and realeased by the paramedics, and was sent home with the others to rest.

X-rays were done and Christmas Day arrived while we were sitting in the ER room waiting for the results. The doctor came in and told us that Abbey was very lucky – no broken bones. He also told her she was going to be very sore for the next week. She was then were released to go home to the other family waiting for us.

Christmas morning started late for us this year. All of us slept in. When it was time to unwrap the gifts under the tree there was a different attitude amongst all of us. A reality that this day almost did not happen was understood by all. James read the Christmas story this year, “Unto us a child is born…”

I sat and listened and prayed and thanked God that we were all together as a family this Christmas day. It was a somber and thankful day. One I can not describe in words.

That afternoon we went to the crash scene and saw where it all had taken place the night before. We talked with the neighbors who had come out and helped our girls from the moment they heard the car hit the tree. We told them ‘thank you.’ We listened as they told us that there have been at least 10 other cars who have missed that curve without the fog that had been there the night before. They were glad we had stopped by and let them know the girls were OK. We handed them a tract with the plan of salvation and invited them to church.

I thanked God as we drove away from the curve that could have cost my girls their lives and thanked God that He had spared them and kept them with us this Christmas. I was thankful that we would not bury another daughter in December and that Anna’s birthday would be celebrated in two days – not just endured under the cloud of grief.

The car is gone; but my girls are still here. That is fine with me.

I have been thrilled to watch my girls become closer through this crisis. There have been lots of tears, lots of prayers and the last few days have been savored. Being together as a family is not something that is guaranteed for tomorrow – or for the next hour even.

Everyday is a gift. Life is a gift from God. So thankful that He has more plans for my girls and that He allowed them to stay with us longer.

Hug your children; and cherish another day with them. Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did!




We have never 'done' Santa Clause with our children.  While I can not and will not judge my friends who 'do' Santa; Rob and I have just never been able to come right out and tell our kids that there is a someone who there isn't

However, we have not been anti Santa either.  We will watch a holiday movie that has a Santa theme and we talk to the kids about the story of Santa, always making sure we tell them that it is a story.  (There are many Santa history stories; but overall the ones I have heard make me believe that it is a wonderful story - and has been made into something more than it ever was in real life.)    So, our version of the Santa story has been that there was a man years and years ago who made sure all the children in his village received something on Christmas morning.  His generosity and love to the children are the parts of the story that we tell the kids that we love so much about this history / story of Santa.  Our kids have grown up knowing 'about' Santa - but not believing 'in' Santa. 

Through the years as the children were growing up they would ask us if we believed in Santa Clause and we would tell them the story and then tell them that we believe in the spirit (the heart giving attitude of this man named Santa from years gone by) but that he does not exist anymore in real life.  That has been our story and how we have handled and 'done' Santa.  That was true for Rachel.  That was how we told Abbey about Santa.  When James asked his questions about Santa that is how we handled them.  Then there was Zak and even with his limited understanding at times he understood the story and history of Santa.

Then there was Anna...

She asked the believe question.  We answered her in our well thought out and, up until now,  successful way.  She had asked us if we believed in Santa last year during the Christmas holiday.   We gave her our explanation and concluded with:   "While we don't believe in Santa, we love the story of his heart for giving and we believe in the spirit of Santa."

This did not suffice.  She came right out and asked the question:   "Well, is there really a Santa Clause?" 

No problem.  We can handle this question.  We gave her the facts. 

"No, Anna.  There is not a Santa now; it's just a make believe story from something that happened years and years ago.  There is no Santa now it is just a pretend story that is fun to hear."

I expected that to be the end of it in her three year old little mind.  I was wrong.

"So there is no Santa?" She was probing. 

Rob was gentle; but very firm:  "No, there is no Santa.  It is just a story that some people pretend." 

She went on, "Then you and Mommy don't believe in Santa?"

Rob confirmed to her that we did not believe in Santa, "That's right, Anna.  There is no such thing as Santa Clause."

Then Anna, sounding more like she was eight and had believed in the story for her entire life said, "Well, I believe..."

It threw us.  None of the other kids had 'believed' in that sense of the word.  It was not part of our Christmas traditions or celebrations.

Her insistence on Santa's reality continued.  This is how it was the entire holiday season last year.  She told all of our friends she believed.  She told Rob she believed.  She told me that she believed.  Never, not one time, did we go along with this mindset she had.  We told her the truth and she told us what she believed.  Over and over again. 

Then, she saw him!  At the grocery store.  In Mayville, Wisconsin no less!   She ran up to him and told him that she knew he was real and needed her picture taken so she could show her Dad that he did exist.

She carried in the 'proof' to Rob when she ran in with the picture from Piggly Wiggly!  The holiday season ended last year by taking down the picture and her telling Rob once again that he really did exist.

It was all the same this year.  She told me that she did believe in Santa as we put up the Christmas trees.  She told me that she loved Santa and that she knew he would come and bring her presents this year. 

I could bear it no longer.  I put the other kids to bed and told her that I needed to talk to her.  Hot chocolate sat in the mugs in front of us and with the Christmas lights twinkling and the house was completely quiet I had her full and complete attention.  I looked her right in the eye and told her that Santa was not real.  That it was a nice story but it was not real.  Just pretend.

"Like, Strawberry Shortcake?"

I nodded, "Yes, like Strawberry Shortcake."

"Oh, I know that, Mommy." 

I explained that I wanted her to know the truth.  We went to bed with me surprised at how much she understood and how well she took that. 

Then, we went to the mall today to get her hair cut.  Santa was there.  She wanted to see him.  I caved in and said that we could.  We stood in line and waited for our turn.  We waited for 15 minutes.  Finally, we were at the front of the line - the next ones to see him.  She has been so excited.  Suddenly, she got really quiet.  The boy behind her said that it looked like his beard was real - not fake.

That did it.  She looked up at me and told me she did not want to do this.  I was surprised at her reaction. She still was insistent that she wanted to go. 

Then, she turned around and looked at the family behind us, "I don't even believe in Santa!"  She was matter fact and to the point.  The father of the family asked her if she was just scared.  She shook her head no and said it again, "I don't even believe in Santa!"  Then she turned to me, "What am I doing here?  I don't even believe."  She then took my hand and pulled it to go. 

The man smiled at her as I excused ourselves from leaving the line.  Anna looked right up at him and said, "I am going to go tell my Daddy what I want for Christmas.  It works the same way."

We then walked away and head toward Chick Fil A where Daddy was working.  When Dad came out she ran up to him and told him all about what she wanted for Christmas.  She had quite a list. 

Somehow watching Rob holding her and listening as she talked to him about her Christmas wishes I thought, "Finally, it is how it should be."  Somehow in her mind today it all came together.  As Rob kissed her and told her he had to get back to work I was thankful that we had been insistent upon the truth; but glad we were willing to explain to her the story; but even more thankful that we allowed for her to come to her belief on her own. 

Perhaps I learned a life lesson today, I can't make my children believe truth; but I can be confident in truth as I present it to my children.  I think that when they come to believe something on their own -then it is truly their belief - not mine.  Something to remember for the future - with this one, I think I am going to need this life lesson.  LOL. 

Trust you are enjoying and building memories with your family this weekend.


Autisms' Handicap

My heart has been grieved as I have followed the news here this past week.  My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the victims.

As I read the reports coming in concerning the shooter what I heard concerned me greatly.  I did not need to hear the word "Aspergers" or "Autism" to know that the man they were describing struggled with issues that I completely understand.  (avoided touch, socially shy, wore only certain clothing etc.)  I knew before the news even put it out that there was an autistic spectrum disorder that would be revealed as more information became available.

I was tuned in to facebook when Autism Speaks issued their statement about concerns for future issues that other autistic children will have to deal with because this mad man had a label that they too carry.  I agree totally that Autism should not be blamed in this rampage. 

I thought of the shooter's own mother.  It sounds as if the past weeks had been terribly difficult for her as she tried to make decisions that would be best for her son and his special needs.  My heart goes out to her. 

Understanding autism because it is part of our everyday life makes this a little closer to home.   I have felt the need to write a post in regards to this matter, because it is something that deeply concerns me.  Right now, 1 in every 88 children are diagnosed with autism.  That statistic concerns me.  I am torn on that fact also.  I do believe that there can be an over diagnosis of this spectrum disorder and that bothers me.  However, because early intervention is so important I do understand the swing of the pendulum in that direction.  So, I do think the numbers may not be completely accurate.

This is what has caused me the greatest concern:  the knee jerk reaction that comes with a label.  I am not a label person and any of our friends could have told you how hesitant we were to attach a label to Zak and his issues. However, the label did give us some understanding of what we were dealing with and why normal procedures were not producing the same results as we had seen in our other children.  So, with that said a label was helpful.  Unfortunately, what I have seen a lot of times is that labels are handed out and with the label comes a whole list of excesses for why the child behaves the way he/she does.  This is dangerous.  We have children given these labels and then we have parents who suddenly attribute anything the child does that is unacceptable to the label.  (Jr won't eat his applesauce - it is the sensory issues and the autism, get him something else to eat.  He won't eat that.)

I have seen this happen so many times.  I have been guilty of doing this in the past - and I am sure that I will be in the future too.  It is one of those fine lines that we parents of special needs children walk.  Sometimes it is hard to understand when the behaviour is part of the condition, and when we cross the line and become enablers to bad behaviour.  I feel it very pertinent to address this issue.

We can not handicap our children with their handicap!  When we excuse bad behaviour because of their issues we are on a dangerous slope that goes down a good long way!  Just because my son has autism does not mean that he can not learn to obey.  (It does mean that they path to teach obedience is a lot longer than it is for the normal child!) 

At the base of this shooting in Connecticut was not an autistic person - it was a willful person who had not learned (or would not learn?) right from wrong.  (I am not saying his mother did not teach him right from wrong or failed to discipline.  I have no idea of his home life.)  At the root of this shooting was a person who wanted to do what he wanted to do.  I do understand the issue of mental health (and I have trouble saying Autism should fall under a mental health label.)  If however, there are mental health issues that show that a person can not abide by certain moral standards ( like not hurting other people or themselves) then drastic decisions need to be made for the safety of everyone involved.  This is something that most mental health doctor's are hesitant to do.  However, drastic situations sometimes demand drastic solutions, and parents of these types of children need to be listened to in the mental health circles of health care.  (Another post - another time.) 

Just because my son has autism does not mean that he ceases being a sinner.  He still is selfish and willful - just like all of my other children.  He is at a greater disadvantage and one that makes it imperative that I realize that I can not make excuses for his behaviour.  Because of limited cognisance on so many levels a special needs child will go to great lengths to get what he wants.  Some of the greatest manipulators are special needs children!  (I don't say this mean - it is amazing to watch how they can get what they want even with limited reasoning skills.) 

It is for this reason that we as parents of special needs children need to be vigilant to teach and to train.  Special needs children must have before them constantly a reality of right and wrong.  They must be taught what behaviour will be tolerated and which ones will not.  We cannot as parents feel sorry for our children and excuse wrong behaviour because of their label.  I hate that Zak has autism!  If I could do something to take the autism label away I would; but if I treat him like a victim of this horrible ailment and don't go into overdrive to constantly teach him right and wrong and do my best to make sure every negative behaviour results in a negative consequence I am severely handicapping him with more than autism.

It is easier for parents to grab the label and hold onto it with all their might.  I must fully embrace that Zak's greatest issue is not his autism - it is his willful selfish sinful nature.  The same willful selfish nature that all my children processes.  That is the greatest handicap; and when left unchecked or excused will limit any child in life especially a child with special needs or mental issues.

I boldly say that we must be vigilant to teach our children right from wrong.  If our child has special issues that means those lessons will need to be taught over and over and over again.  This is our greatest obstacle with a special needs child.  If in time a special needs child starts to reach the upper teen years or adulthood and can not grasp the concepts of  right and wrong then it is time for us to understand that they are a detriment to society and to themselves. 

They can not be integrated into society if they can not learn and govern themselves on moral issues. (This also seems to be the conclusion that the mother of the shooter had reached herself.) 

We must realize that we can not continue to handicap our children with their handicap.  We must rise to the occasion and say that we must be vigilant to teach them; and if there comes a time when we realize that they are incapable of knowing and acting upon doing right then serious decisions need to be made to protect them and the welfare and lives of other people. 

We must teach all children, normal and special, that they must obey!  Their future and possible the future of many others depends upon it. 

Today I will Remember

Today I will remember. 

Today I will be thankful for every single day we had with her.  I will cherish that memory.

Today I will relalize and meditate.

I will dwell on the reality that God uses the hard things in life to mold us.

Today I will give thanks. 

Thank you God that I know you better than I did fifteen years ago this day.  Thankful that I have experienced your healing of a broken heart.  Thankful that Heaven is so much more a reality. 

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

~Laura Mixon Story

A New Chapter

Last week I flew to Denver to meet a lady I had only spoken to on the phone.  We had never met face to face.  We had talked, however, from our hearts and our hearts share something very special.  Each of us has lost a baby suddenly due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  Both of us have experienced what it is like to have life change in an instant.  Everything about life to feel out of order and out of control; and each of us has found that God can heal and restore and bring good from such a terrible situation.

So, last week, we met face to face.  We talked.  We cried.  We planned.

After her son died from SIDS Cheryl and her husband started what is now known as SIDS America.  A non-profit, faith based organization to help parents who are grieving the same loss that they had encountered.

I have no doubt that God allowed our paths to cross and after much prayer and a lot of conversations, we believe with certainty that God has called to me work with SIDS America!  It is a ministry I am excited to become a part of.

I will be handling the support services of SIDS America.  I will be talking with families as they grieve the loss of their baby and obtaining resources needed to help these families.  My husband and I will be doing marriage counseling together with couples when the need arises. I will be writing bi-weekly for the SIDS America blog in an effort to put out written work that is readily available for grieving parents. 

I wanted to share this new venture with you my readers and ask you to pray.  Pray that God will use me in this ministry for His glory and honor.  Pray that my words will point grieving parents to Him. 

It was my prayer the moment I walked into Ally's room and saw my husband doing CPR on her that God would allow me to use this for His glory.  The position with SIDS America is an answer to my prayers and I trust God will be magnified through my ministry there.

Thanks for your prayers for me and I begin my new journey.

Jesus in Pink

Last Christmas someone gave us an old fashioned nativity scene to set up outside.  I was thrilled with the donation.  So, this year we got the Christmas decorations out I was quite excited to put up the nativity set in the front yard.   We pulled the shepherd out of the box and then the three wise men.  Anna asked what their names where and we named each one of the four men. 

Then we pulled out the family.  Mary first and Anna kissed her.  (Awkward; but true)  Then came Joseph.  He did not receive a kiss on the cheek; but she rubbed his head and looked at him closely.  Then the manger was set up and at the bottom of the box sat the plastic baby that represents the Holy Baby.  Anna was jumping with joy as we placed the baby in the wooded manger frame. 

She then sat down beside him and pulled him from the manger and tenderly began rocking him back and forth and telling him how much she loved him.

I finished plugging them all into the outlet and then headed in to put boxes away from the indoor decorating.  It was several hours later when Rob came home from work that I noticed the manger.  I could not see the baby; but rather a pile of coats and blankets.  Anna had wrapped up the baby.  Rob and I walked over, smiled and I picked up the coats and brought them inside and hung them all back up.  (Anna was in bed).

The next day I was walking out to get the mail and I found the same pile of coats on the manger.  This time a hat was securely tied on the baby lying warmly beneath ALL the coats.  This scenario has happened several times.  Anna just can not stand to see the baby in the manger without something to cover him up and make him warm. 

I am done taking in the coats and hats.  We have found one that fits around the baby and a fleece scarf that covers him up nicely.  Anna was insistent that it be HER coat and hats that keep the baby warm. 

So, if you drive by our house.  Enjoy the nativity scene.  You will not be able to see the baby in the manger; but you will see that this year the manger is filled with pink.  Somehow I think that God does not mind that the plastic baby representing Emmanuel is wearing pink this year.  If per chance, you drive by during Anna's play time you will not see her jumping on the trampoline, rather she is will be sitting by the nativity set singing to her baby and telling him how much she loves him.  My prayer is that someday soon she will realize just how much He loves her!

Oh, to love Him that dearly!
Thanks so much for stopping by.  I am so glad you did!

The Family of God

There are so many benefits to being God's child.  I'm adopted into His family.  I am loved as His own.  I am assured of my final destination.  I am forgiven for all the sin I have committed - and will commit.  (That is a HUGE benefit; and one that would be worth it if it was the only one!)  So many benefits and not enough blog space to write about them all. 

However, I have been thinking about one benefit a lot lately.  It is the holidays and my mind tends to focus on relationships and the people in my life - family.  One of the benefits of being a Christian is that we are placed into the family of God the moment we get saved.  That is a HUGE family.  The minute we are saved we belong.  It takes a while to realize just how much of a benefit this is; but when it happens you stand there amazed.

The longer I am saved the more I cherish this family to which I have been adopted.  The longer I am saved the more I realize just how special this is.  Because I belong to the family of God there is a family bond to every person in that family.

Have you ever experienced this?  I have!  It always amazes me when we are on vacation or are visiting a church where we really do not 'know' anyone there; but there is a connection.  We feel like we know them, like we have met before.  Not the face or that particular person; but there is a bond of knowing that they are my brother or sister in Christ.  It amazes me every time this happens just how close I can feel to someone I have never met because of the bond of Christ. 

I also have experienced the same amazement when getting together with friends whom I have not seen for such a long time.  Thanksgiving day was that way for me this year.  We have moved down south and were able to get together with friends we had not seen in almost fifteen years.  Oh, the kids had grown and just looking at each other we could tell that time had passed by; but there was an instant bond again almost as if we had been in the same church for the past fifteen years together.  The bond of Christ allows us to pick up where we left off and still be united in heart and spirit.

I am convinced that we do not value this benefit as much as we should.  We use petty disagreements to separate and cause tension within the family; and just like an earthly family, there can be divisions amongst us because of pride and a critical spirit.  When this happens we miss being able to be uplifted and blessed by the bond that Christ has placed us into.

God has opened up a ministry opportunity to me and next week I am going to fly out west and meet someone I have never seen before.  We are going to talk about God and His plan for our lives.  We are going to share our hearts and dreams for what God can do through circumstances in our lives.  We have only talked on the phone and seen each other's pictures through facebook or blogs; but there is a bond.  That bond is Christ and there is a certainty that God has brought us together for such a time as this.  Oh, the benefit of being in the family of God.  I am looking forward to sharing with you what God has opened up and how the bond of Christ was again evident once again!

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

Would you be able to help me?

I was sitting in church listening to the preacher. I had supplied the little ones with their notepads and pencils and had instructed them to sit quietly and not talk while the preacher was preaching. They sat quietly and worked on their papers. I sat next to them trying my best to listen to the preacher. That night it was a missionary. He told of the field God to which God had called him. He talked about how time was short; but informed us that he was praying for more time -time to reach the lost. He seemed desperate; like the task in front of him was bigger than he and time was shorter than needed to accomplish the task.

The missionary told us the text from which he would be preaching. We turned and read, and the children colored on quietly. The flow of the preacher’s voice turned to a cadence that represents a preaching/proclaiming tone. If you have sat in church for long at all you know the tone. The children colored and sat quietly and I was taking notes trying to stay focused on the message.

Then, the cadence stopped. The missionary said in an almost conversational tone, “Would you be able to help me?” He did not sound like he was preaching (although he still was). He sounded like he was talking, almost pleading. The question was abrupt in his message. Like he stopped preaching and was opening his heart to us. The plea was genuine. “Would you be able to help me?”

I have heard that before. I have sat through services and heard the same question from more than one missionary; but until that day, I had never seen the same response. It came from my son. My son who is challenged by autism. My son whom I wonder at times how much is getting in and how much he understands. Zak was sitting there quietly coloring (on this particular night it was a calendar and numbers – his most recent obsession). He did not appear to be tuned into the preacher or be taking in what was being said from the pulpit just feet from where he sat. However, he had been listening. He had heard the question the same as I had even though his face never left the paper from which he was coloring.

“Would you be able to help me?”

As quickly as the question was asked Zak responded. “Yes, I will.” He dropped his pencil and threw his paper to his side and started to get up to go help the man who had asked for help. I quickly pushed him back down in his seat and told him to sit down. Then, his mind realized that the preacher was still preaching and was not talking directly to him.

Or, was he?

I directed him to keep coloring and he sat back down and went back to the numbers on his page; entering  again into his own world of numbers; a world where he spends a lot time. However,I found out that night, his world is not so closed up as to be deaf to hear the call for help.

“Would you be able to help me?”

His response convicted me.

How many times had I heard the same question?

How many times had I responded the same way? How many times had I dropped all that was consuming me in my little world and jumped up to help someone desperate enough to ask for help? How many times had the question been shoved aside as if it was intended for someone else?

God convicted me that night, long before the invitation was ever given. Gently He said, “That’s how I want you to respond.”

I am reminded again about the quote that has completely transformed my thinking:

“If not now – when? If not me – who?”

Fall Beauty

The fall weather here is beautiful.  Thought I would share some pics from my daughter's playtime in the leaves.  Enjoy:

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

SIDS Awareness Month

October is National SIDS awareness month.  SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

Our daughter died in December of 1997, those four capital letters are at the end of her autopsy report.

SIDS changed my life forever

This month I finished the book that I had tried for so long to write.  (For whatever reasons I could not write it before now.)  Through the third week of the month of October I pretty much locked myself away and wrote and wrote and wrote.  I cried and wept.  I remembered.

I remembered the day she was born.  I remembered her smile and her laugh.  I remembered how happy we were together as a family.  I remember finding her.  I remembered and felt again, the fear that gripped my heart.  I remembered the EMT working.  I remembered friends.  I remembered the funeral.  I remembered standing in front of her casket and wondering how life could go on.

I remembered and I cried.  I missed her as if it had been just yesterday.  It hurt.

I kept writing. I kept remembering.

I remembered my shattered faith.  I remembered all my questions.  I remembered the "WHY?" question.  Then, I remembered  how God had shown me His promises.  I remembered how real God became to me during that time.  I remember how He healed my broken heart.  I remembered how the promises of God's word that were so dear to me at that time.

I wrote and I wrote.  I remembered and then, I was challenged.

Nothing happens in our lives without a purpose.  Every event gives us opportunities.  My life's purpose is to glorify God and to proclaim Christ.  Ally dying gave me an opportunity to proclaim Christ to people I would have never met without her home going. 

Then I asked myself, have I seized that purpose.   Has Christ received all the glory He can from that situation.

I thought, and I realized.  I can do more.  I can proclaim Christ more through this situation. 

So I come to my blog and I want to tell you that this month is SIDS awareness month.  I want to do more to help parents through their time of grief.  I want to do more to tell them about God and His love for them during that difficult time.  I want to proclaim Christ MORE! 

Because SIDS changed my life forever - but it was God ordained.  God allowed it and I know Him better today than I would have had Ally not been taken to Heaven early.  Her life - and her death were a blessing and through them I have understood more clearly the meaning of the word "Hope" (her middle name).

I want for Christ to be glorified through my life and through every situation that comes my way.  I want to proclaim Christ.  After I wrote the book - and as I was reading through my journals God showed me a verse.  Isaiah 61:1-3  This has become my life verse. 

God brought be across this site.  Will you go over and visit and will you pray for the parent's whose hearts have been broken by the sudden death of their precious baby?  I have committed to praying for them.  I remember the hurt.  I remember the grief.  I remember the healing.  So, I will pray that during their time of loss they will find Hope. 

That God may be glorified!

The Hike

We recently took some of the kids up to a nearby mountain to hike up the trail to the falls.  It was beautiful!  We loved being there.

Zak was so excited to see the mountain.  However, when Anna heard we were going to a mountain, she broke down in tears and started saying over and over again, "I want to go home!  I want to go home!"  I am not sure what caused the word 'mountain' to cause such fear; but she was totally afraid.  We told her that Dad was with her and he would keep her safe.  She sat quietly and then said, "I know!"  Then she started quoting her Bible verse from Patch Club.  "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."  Then she said with full assurance, "I don't have to be afraid, God is with me!"  It was a blessing to me as a Mom to see that simple faith; and I thanked God for Miss Debbie who taught her the verse! 

When we got to the trail we had so much fun.  Anna quickly realized that she did not need to be afraid.  The only time she was afraid was on the stairs; and Daddy took care of that - and carried her down. 

Hope you enjoy the pictures.  It was absolutely beautiful.  I love living in North Carolina.  Such beauty.

Trust you are able to enjoy building memories and heart strings with your family.  Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


Fear is Conquered!

Recently a local church hosted a blood drive.  This is the first time I have ever given blood.  (Mom, as afraid as I was of needles when I was little - you would have never dreamed I would do this!)

But...  I did!
I guess having four babies prepares you for just about anything!!

So glad I was given the opportunity to do this.  I plan on making it part of my life.  Just makes sense. 

Hope you are enjoying your family and finding things to do to help others around you.
Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.

Meeting Needs Through Christ

I believe that God has the power to speak to me from the clouds, drop down bread from the heavens and fill my evening table with food enough for my family and anyone else who wanted to join us for dinner. 
I believe that God could miraculously take a child whose brain is damaged and make is to be completely and totally whole and new – without a blemish or sign of previous in normality. 
 I know God can do anything. 
I believe that the miracle working God that I read about in the Old Testament and the New Testament could do those same exact miracles today.  The power is still there.  His love is still the same.  I know that God still can work miracles by the power of His hand.  I also know that sometimes He uses a different way to work mightily in the lives of those whom He loves.
Sometimes He uses others.  Sometimes He uses us.  He lays a burden on our hearts; or He allows us to see the needs of another person.  He then, through the working of His Holy Spirit enables us to meet the need of that person through His power!  It’s exciting to think that I could be God’s channel wherewith He desires to show Himself mighty to another person.  Through this imperfect body God’s power can be seen to others as clearly as the Children of Israel saw Him work when they ate bread from Heaven.  Perhaps the most one of the most amazing concepts to me is that God desires to use frail, imperfect human beings to show Himself to the World today!
I wonder how many times I have missed the opportunity.  How many mornings I have been too busy to spend time with God and allow Him to lead me and direct me.  You see, it is a working of supernatural power and myself in my own flesh and through my own vision cannot see.  It’s the gentle nudging that alerts me to the eyes of someone who has entered into my presence.  It’s the conscious awareness of the needs of someone, perhaps a child who comes to church every Sunday in the same clothes because they only have that one set of dress clothes.   God alerts me to the need and then I am given the opportunity to be His hands and use His resources that He has given to me to meet that need. 
A kind word.
 A bag full of hand -me down clothes outgrown by one of my children. 
A meal for a family who has had sickness in their home. 
 The possibilities are endless; but I am convinced that because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us (God Himself) this is how He now chooses most to work to meet the needs of others.  He does not need a fiery cloud and pillar.  He does not need to speak from the sky to tell someone that everything is going to be OK.  He has us; and when we are surrendered to His promptings we see the needs. To me, that is an even greater miracle than parting of the red sea of the lighting of Elijah’s fire.  God uses Christians to show Himself and His power to others. 
Sometimes we see how He is meeting our needs through someone else.  We stand in awe that God worked through someone who did not know our specific need but was willing to listen and to obey His voice.  We are humbled.  Sometimes we are blessed by someone who is so in love with their Savior that their time is not spent only on themselves but on doing the bidding that He has given them to do.

Such is the case with Miss V.
She saw a need.  A little boy with a brain that does not work as fast and as efficiently as others his age.  She saw a ten year old who struggled to read and to write in her Sunday school class; and rather than casting judgment and criticism she looked to what God would have her do about this need.
She did not see that she has already taught for 45 plus years and is ready to retire and have her own life.  She did not regard the fact that her feet do not move quite as fast as they did when she started teaching years ago.  She did not think of the pain in her back that causes her to see a chiropractor each and every week.  She just saw a need and knew that she could meet it.  God laid it on her heart and she knew that He would enable her with the strength to meet the need of this little boy.
So, on the designated days she takes her car out of her garage and drives to an elementary school 20 minutes from her house and picks up Zak at his classroom door.  They then drive another 10 miles to our house, come in and get a drink and then head to Dad’s desk to spend the next hour and a half learning to read. 
Can I even begin to tell you what this means to me?  I thank God for her.  I thank God  for her love for my son.  Then, I thank God for His love for my son.  You see, He saw a little boy with a brain that does not work as fast and as efficiently as others his age.  God saw a ten year old who struggled to read and write in his Sunday school class then He found a willing child of His that was equipped with the skills to help this little boy, whom He loved so much.  He showed her the need and He knew her heart.  He knew her surrender to Him.  He knew that even though her legs are not as steady as they once were  -she will obey.  He knew that even though the drive is not in her neighborhood she would just take it a little slower and pray to Him that He would help her to meet the need; and He knew He would empower her eyes to see the road and her brain to remember the directions to the school.    He knew her heart; and He knew that when He showed her what He saw that she would allow Him to strengthen her to meet the need.
I believe that God has the power to speak to me from the clouds, drop down bread from the heavens and fill my evening table with food enough for my family and anyone else who wanted to join us for dinner.  However, I know that God has an even more sure way of showing Himself mighty and loving.  It’s by using His children to meet other’s needs.  I for one, have been challenged by a woman of God who knows how to hear His voice, is not self consumed and loves her Savior more than her own life. 
God make me a woman who sees the need and allows you to work through me to meet the need that you have, in your love, shown to me.  Oh to God, that I would be a woman who allows the world to see Jesus working His love through me.  Oh, that I would lose sight of myself and give myself wholly to being what God would have me to be.  I pray that when I am old and my legs don’t work as well I will hobble out to my car, drive a little slower and pray that God will enable me to meet the needs of others through the power of God working in me!

Menu Monday

So, if I'm back here, there is no time like the present to be able to post our weekly menu.  Here goes: 

Monday:  Baked Chicken/ Baked Potatoes / Salad / Homemade Bread

Tuesday:  Fusilli w/ Sausage and Peppers / Salad

Wednesday:  Hearty 13 Bean Soup / Homemade Bread

Thursday:Spaghetti / Tossed Salad

Friday:  Chili / Cornbread 

Saturday:  Potato Soup / Homemade Bread

Sunday : Meat and Cheese Sandwiches / Veggie Tray / Corn Chips


We finally have Internet at the house.  This means that I will be able to blog more!  YES!! ( as Anna would say.)  So here is to more blog posts and hopefully y'all will comment and let me know you're still with me here.  It has been awhile.  I am so excited! 

Fall Life 2012

Life has settled into a 'normal' here.  The school year is underway and the fall routines are being played out everyday.  The weather here has turned chillier and the leaves are changing colors offering to me a show of natural beauty that is breathtaking.

Zak's first day of school - 4rth grade
 Zak has grown accustomed to his daily routines and prompts and reminders of what to do next have been put away as he knows the 'next thing'.  He leaves for school with Dad and Rachel every morning.  They drop him off at school and then they head to work.  He rides home on the bus, bids his bus driver goodbye and starts the walk up the driveway.  I wait for him on the porch.  The weather growing colder will fin me soon with a jacket on as I sit on my perch and wait for the bus coming down the road.  Truth is, I have heard the sound of the bus coming down the country roads long before I actually see it.

The school days here on the home front follow a pattern.  There is required reading and speech in the morning; along with math and music.  I sit at the head of the dinning room table and flash flashcards and utter phonetic sounds as my youngest learns the basic skills needed to start reading.  Today there was a cup of hot tea by my side as we began our school day. (Coffee has been taken out of my list of warm comfort beverages.  Seems there are sometimes dietary changes needed after a gallbladder surgery.) sniff sniff.

Anna's first day - Kindergarten

The garden is done.  Some fall greens have been planted and are thriving.  The freezer is filled with the beans that came from the garden this summer.  Tomato plans still stand; but their productivity has been limited in the past couple weeks.  Green tomatoes are still abundant and salsa is on the docket to be made sometime this week.

The herbs has been cut and tied and are drying.  The mudroom windows now has an 'all natural - organic' valance.  The aroma from the drying herbs causes the house to smell homey and inviting.  The pumpkin outside is about ready to be brought in and cooked.  Soon the herbs will combine with the smell of pumpkin as bard and bread are taken from the oven to the table for family dinner. 

Walnuts are heard falling from the trees night and days.  It is my guess that if a walnut fell just as one of us walked by it would cause quite the headache.  Perhaps worse?   The make quite a crashing to the ground.  I have plans for those walnuts.  I will collect them, dry them, crack them and have them for winter baking.  However, the locals just look at me with eyebrows raised and then say, "more power to ya..." So, we will see how my plan plays out.  The locals all have been here for awhile ( a LONG while) and it is best to heed what they say. They mention staining of clothes and hands, needing a cement block and hammer to crack the "unusually" hard shell and have mentioned running over them with the car several times to get the outer shell off the actual nut.  Despite their stories I still want to give it a try. 

We had a baby calf born this afternoon across the road.  It was fun watching the wobbly legs try to maneuver the little body to find the mother's milk.  Somehow, anything new in nature seems precious.  God's creation amazes me!

I love the county.  I love the deep dark of the nights and the twinkling bright starts overhead.  I love the beautiful sunrises and the breathtaking sunsets.  I love listening and watching as birds call to one another in the daytime and the howl of the coyotes at night. 

I am so thankful for the place God has brought us to  Everyday I am living the dream.  Watching nature unfold in front of me and taking in everything I can from this experience.

Yes, life is settling into normal and I am loving the country life!