Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ice Skating Videos

I got a new point and shoot camera for those spur of the moment pictures when I don't have my big camera. Honestly, though, I bought it for the video capability. So you will all have to bear with me as I am a little video crazy right now! If you are just a casual reader of my blog you may just want to pass on this one. If you are family...you might like seeing Mya learning how to ice skate. The second video is clips of all the kids ice skating at Jason's party.

Jason is nine years old!!!!
Jason decided to have a family birthday party. He wanted to go ice skating. So we enjoyed a family dinner at Red Robin. Jason ate up all the attention. He ate every single bite of the ice cream without sharing any because it was HIS birthday. After dinner, we met up with Mamaw and Papa, all the aunts, uncles, and cousins for ice skating. The kids all had a blast. We then came home and shared ice cream cake and opened presents. Jason finished it off by spending the night with his cousin Nate.
Our family has embarked on quite a few adventures this past year. Starting with our
move to Colorado in April, we began an adventure with homeschooling. This has been quite a journey... I must say that now that we have reached the halfway mark I think we can make it! I am most impressed. I love the support from the teachers that help us make it through the tough moments. All three boys are going through a reading program called the Barton System. It is specifically for dyslexia. I am hopeful that there will be an improvement as we progress through the program.

I am still debating on whether all four kids will continue homeschooling or if we will return to school. I am all for keeping them home. But I need to really pray about their individual needs. Brittney seems to be adjusting well and making friends at co-op. Jason on the other hand is not really connecting with friends there so I am not sure what to do with him. He doesn't want to go to school but he misses having friends. I think once we get established in a church that he will be ok.

Our newest adventure began a little over a week ago. My sister and her three boys moved in with us. My sister is going through a divorce so they are staying with us in the transition period. It is a good thing that we both love chaos and thrive in it- there are 8 children here ages: 11,10,9,6,5,4,2, and 17months. Its quite loud and fun to say the least. Dana moving here was such a blessing to me- probably more than she realizes. My heart's desire and prayer has been to get more structure into my life and my kids lives. My goal was to start implementing a plan during Christmas break. Well, Dana is so much better in this area than I am. Her structure motivates me. So my house has been cleaner and more organized, meals have been made, everyone is settling into a routine, and I think, despite the extra children, my husband is happier.

Despite Jonathan's recent issues, all is well in our home. We are looking forward to 2009. First on our list is to find a church to connect to... we desperately need fellowship and a place to belong. Please pray along with us on this. Its a scary place to be- wounded and on the outside of the pack. It makes you very vulnerable to attacks.
Who knows what else is ahead? I am sure it will be quite an adventure.

Some days it is hard to believe all that Jonathan has been through. Some days it is hard to believe he is still alive. He is definately a miracle. He should not be here. But he is...and that means God has a purpose.

On days like the ones he has had the past few weeks I have struggle to understand what that purpose is. I know that so many lives have been touched because of Jonathan's life. He has reached into many hearts and brought healing by his unconditional love and blindness to others flaws. He has displayed a childlike faith that puts most of us to shame. Until recently, he has not even wrestled with "why me". He has just accepted this call on his life and joyfully proclaims- I have special needs because I have a brain tumor. See they cut my head open from ear to ear. You want to hear a song. And then he goes into a mini concert of worship songs for the whole grocery store to hear.

Most of the time- at least in the busy moments-I don't wrestle. But when I am caring for him after he has thrown up, or give him the maximum amount of headache medicine, or listen to him come unglued because he can't cope with anything, or watch as he struggles to hold something in his hands and they shake and objects fall then I can't help but wonder why. In all honesty, I wonder why God allowed him to live. There is a fear deep inside of me that if things were to go that way now it would be so much harder for him to understand. Thoughts I can't really dwell on.

I know that God allowed him to live for me, for his daddy, his brothers and sisters, for all of us who are touched by him. There is so much good. I know it. Today his pain is on my mind and the anxiety of the unknown weighs heavy on my heart. I know that I would be far to weak spiritually to endure the suffering this child has and not bitterly turn my back on God. I only have the emotional pain and I walk very often on the edge of desertion. The truth remains though- that there is no where else I could go, no one else to turn to but my Lord. So I am grateful that he remembers that I am but dust in desperate need of my Savior and the truth and hope that He holds.

So you are probably wondering what brought this all on. The past few weeks Jonathan has progessively gotten sicker. I am sure that it is probably nothing or a sinus infection or the lack of faithfulness to a gluten free diet. But as he has thrown up 3 times in the past 2 weeks in his sleep, has constant headaches, constant nausea and increased fatigue I have started to worry. I emailed the doctors in Denver yesterday and they agree that we need to scan as soon as possible to rule out anything tumor related. He is scheduled to be scanned tomorrow morning.
See- this it the cruelness of any cancer. It never goes away. Even after years of clean scans, you can wake up one morning and life completely changes again. Something simple could be nothing or could be everything. Its torture to always be suspended somewhere between living and dying.

Sorry for the depressing post. I promise to post more uplifting posts today. But I need you to all be praying for Jonathan and for us. We need healing in more than one area! Thanks for walking this path with us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Trying to catch up... before Christmas and its thousand pictures!

Making Christmas cookies got a little physical this year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wow, I have been gone for a long time from this blog! I am sorry friends. Its been crazy around here and by the time I sit down to write I feel mentally depleted. Plus, I have been quite distracted by facebook and the opportunity it has given me to chat. My sister in law and I have had more conversations in the past couple of weeks than I think we have ever had.

So much has been going on out here in cold and snowy Colorado. I think my kids are feeling a little snow overload. I caught them saying something about wanting a " Tennessee Christmas!" I am not sure the longing they have for their friend back in Tennesee will ever go away but we are trying to soften the hurt just a little. We are slowly making friends and getting involved with others. The kids were busy today making presents to send to their cousins and friends in Tennessee. I am not sure if they will make it in time but we will try.

Brittney celebrated her 10th birthday on Dec. 11. I can't believe that it has already been 10 years since I first held in her my arms and looked down into her purple and blue bruised face. I was so ecstatic to hear her cry- now I am begging her to tone down the drama just slightly! Actually, I must say I am so proud of her and thankful for her. She is so mature in the things that matter but still catches me off guard when she acts like a "normal" kid her age. She is a blessing to me in so many ways. Now that she has gotten older, it is so much fun to have a constant shopping buddy.

We were not planning to celebrate her birthday until after the holiday rush died down a little. Feeling bad, I mentioned that maybe she might want to have a friend or two come home from co-op with us and spend the night since her birthday was on co-op day. Well, by the time we left co-op we had three girls come home with us and two others that joined later. So we threw a spontaneuos birthday party that I think Brittney really enjoyed. The girls were awake until almost 2 am!!!!! Thank goodness sleepovers are a rarity.

Brittney also auditioned for a play last week. Although she did not get offered a part, she did get a call back which she was so excited about. It was a really good learning experince for her. She is going to try out for a different play at the beginning of January. Jason and Josh also decided they too want to audtion... I am holding them off for now.

I will try to update on more of the December events soon... just wanted to drop a little post to say that I am still here... just really busy and really tired!

p.s. Please keep Jon in your prayers. He has had a few rough days with some vomiting and headache. This always happens to us right before its time to do his MRI again and its usually nothing but my mommy heart can't help but worry.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!
It has been snowing off and on since Thanksgiving. This morning we woke up to even more snow. My kids were so excited. They convinced Daddy to take them sledding and they had a blast.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Walk a little closer with Jesus, Mama"

This is the resounding messsage that just keeps flooding my heart and my brain. In the midst of all the other things competing for my affection and my mind this is the one thing still stands out in the end.

Walk a little closer because I am watching you.

These little eyes pierce me to the soul tonight as I look at the picture. All five sets of little eyes seem to ask the same thing. In all that I do in the course of a day, in all that I choose to focus on, in everything that I say or think the one thing that matters most right now is how I walk in front of my children.

I am having a hard time coming to grips with this right now. I know they watch me. I know that they will become what I teach them. I want desperately for my children to have authentic, intimate relationships with Jesus. I want to see His love and light pouring forth in their lives. I hate to say it but right now I think the only one who is really even coming close to displaying this kind of life out of all of us is Brittney.

I am truly questioning everything right now. I am questioning what is important. I am wondering what it means today for me in this life that God has given me to truly live for him. So often I find myself reflecting on my past walk with Christ and longing for that time. But today I am no longer a single person running all over the world with the message of the gospel. Today I am a mom of five wonderful children and wife to an incredible husband. I am supposed to be Jesus to them. Let me tell you this is a lot harder than telling the world about Jesus and then going on with the rest of my life!

I hate knowing that I have drifted so far from the intimate relationship I once had with my Lord. Yet, at the same time I know I am His as I can feel his Spirit stirring inside of me. I feel him pursuing me and reminding me of his truth. I know that I can overcome through his strength this season of emptiness and can once again walk victoriously in Christ. I don't know about you, but I am tired of wasting my life on stupid things.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Ehow Articles

Well, I am now officially up to 52 cents!!!! Woohoo!!! I know I have a long way to go until I am rich but...I must admit that I am addicted. Thanks to all of you who keep clicking on my articles and who keep coming here to read my blog. I promise to start writing again soon. We are in the midst of a school work crunch so it is consuming much of my time.

If you get a chance check out my new articles and let me know what you think:

Duck Themed Baby Shower Cake

How to Prepare a Child for a Medical Procedure
How to Make Easy Breakfast Burritos
How to Make Pumpkin Candle Holders
How to Furnish Baby's Nursery on a Budget

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Apple Pie Cookies....Yummy!!!!

Last week we enjoyed apple pie cookies made by our very own Chef Jonathan. They were quite tasty- especially with vanilla ice cream. I have posted the directions and recipe on Ehow.com for your convenience. You can find it here or click on the article on the left side of my blog.

P.S. Thank you to all of you who went to my articles at Ehow. I wanted to let you know I appreciate it. It does appear to be legitimate...slow earning at first but it appears I am earning something. Thank you for your help!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The First Snow!!!

Wow, its been a while since I have written! We have been having so much fun lately there has been little time for blogging! We spent Halloween at my sister-in-law's house. It was a fun time for all the kids. Mya was especially fun to watch as she figured out trick or treating and carried her bag of loot everywhere. To top off the evening, my nephew convinced his mother to let the kids stay the night with them. She graciously caved to his begging. I hope she got some sleep! I know I appreciated the rest and the quiet morning I woke up to.

Some of the days of the past couple of weeks have been extremely difficult. Lots of saddness and trials. Lots of heartbreaking decisions to make. Lots of sad news. One in particular is a very dear friend of ours who was diagnosed with the same tumor as Jonathan at the same time of his second surgery has reoccured several times. We just found out that he is hospice. This breaks my heart. I don't know where he stands spiritually. I don't know where his wife stands spritually. I know that her heart must be torn in two as this horrible disease is ripping them apart. And of course news like this brings back reality for us. Please pray for them.

Overall though, each day has brought so much joy to my heart. My life is full right now. I am learning how to enjoy it. I am learning to wake up in the morning and thank God for this brand new day. The peace that I feel just looking out my window and being reminded of the greatness of the God I get to serve has been transforming me.

So what have we been up to since my last post:

Jonathan's MRI was stable. Thank God for that news!!!! I wasn't sure that would be the case...he has been so sick and so unstable emotionally. This seems to be improving as well. He has been diagnosed with sleep apnea. After a trip to the ENT doctor, we found that his allergies have improved but his sinuses are a huge mess. No surprise there. He will be having sinus surgery on December 19th. I hate to do this to him again but this is one illness that really messes him up. A simple sinus infection is enough to cause his temp. to drop very low, his speech to slur, and his walking to become very unstable. Right now he is still fighting an infection that he came down with 3 weeks ago. He is on his second antibiotic and a course of steriods and he still sounds awful. I think we will be going to the dr on Monday.

We went to the pumpkin patch for a school fieldtrip. Mamaw came with us. It was alot of fun! Mamaw and Papa were going camping near the patch so we went with our friends to the campground and enjoyed lunch there with Mamaw. Last week Mamaw and Papa came over for dinner and helped us carve pumpkins. It was kind of like a nightmare...all my kids are impatient and eager to use knives so you can just imagine! The end result was great though...and I have some brand new candle holders to show for it.

We have recently discovered, due to my dear friend Gretchen's insistence, ice skating. It has become a new family addiction. We went last week twice. Even Mya and Jon went out on the ice. Jonathan was a little unstable and very nervous but he made it around the rink twice. I was so proud of him. They have an sled hockey team here for people with disabilities. I am going to look into it. At least we know he won't overheat in that sport! My other three kids just took off on the ice. They have all decided that is where they are going to have their birthday parties. Jason declared he will be playing ice hockey. And Josh- well, he wants to be a boy ballerina on the ice...aka figure skating.

Oh, I can't forget- we had our first snow! The kids were so excited to wake up to 1/4 inch of snow on the ground. You know, in Tennessee that is a lot of snow. So of course we were excited. My friends on the north side of the city got 2 inches...I think we moved to the wrong side of town!

We also went on a short hike up in the mountains. It was beautiful. Jonathan was not happy that we brought him along. I am sure we were quite the site...Mya was on my back in the baby wrap and I was assisting Jonathan up the hill. He won't let Shawn hold his hand on these trips. I think he feels safer with me because I am more in tune to his stability. The whole way up and the whole way down he was carrying on... " I hate this.... I hate these stupid steps... I hate this stupid jerk head hike... leave me with someone to watch me next time..." Lesson learned...leave him at home next time! I am just glad the child doesn't know any real curse words or we would be in big trouble.

Well, I better go. I need to get my house cleaned before I pick up the kids. One of my sisters is coming to visit this week. I am very excited to see her. But I think she might like to come to a clean house!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Please pray for little Ashley and her family tonight and in the coming days. She is in the hospital fighting a transplant rejection. Follow her story at http://ashleyadamsjournal.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Best Brownie I Have Ever Had!!!!
This is a gluten free brownie that everyone is sure to love! Once I discovered this Starbucks Chocolate it was all over....

Find the recipe here!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Muffins Anyone?

I had a little help with my latest baking. Mya proved to be quite the grown up little helper. She discovered that butter is "mmmm....good mommy" and she was convinced the butter was supposed to go in the batter. Once I rescued the butter from the pureed zucchini everything was good...until I turned around and she had dumped an enitre cup of gluten free flour on top of the muffins I was getting ready to bake.
It was a blast to watch her experience this part of being a big girl. She is such a blessing to my day!!!
If you would like the recipe for this Zucchini Applesauce Bread that you can use with or with out gluten free bread just click here.