Monday, April 25, 2016

Chloe's First BOOK!!

This blog originally started out as updates for family and friends on the journey we suddenly found ourselves in after an ultrasound that rocked our world.

It evolved and became a sounding board, a little devotional, seasons of reflection, and often raw rants about life as we knew it on this mostly unbeaten path.

And all the while, God's been putting this little dream on my heart to write. To write more than the blog. I've picked up the pen multiple times to outline ideas for a book. And then I'd quickly close the journal with a sense of now is not the right time on my heart. That, and where in the world do you think you'll fit in time for that? sat alongside thoughts like a book? Really? Come back down to earth, sweet mama. 

I've wrestled and prayed and dreamed, and honestly felt embarrassed at such a dream, and thought and considered what angle, how to write, and how to share our story with the world, yet not expose too much of our precious daughter. I still have dreams of writing a non-fiction book about our journey, our struggles with this life as unexpected special needs parents, the balance of it all, or {insert comments below for your thoughts on what aspect you'd most enjoy reading and learning about from us}.

You see, the Lord will sometimes take you through waters so high that you cannot fathom wading through them, only to get on the other side of the wave and look back knowing there are others who will face that same billow of sea, and press onto your heart the desire to share your story for their sake to show how the Lord was steadfast and faithful and provided hope. We find that Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."

I thought I'd write about that first.

But lately, I'm realizing more and more it's time to write. To take a step out in obedience because the Lord is truly placing this on my heart. But the direction took an unexpected turn.

I penned a children's poem. It was a simple five minutes of jotting down an idea that came to mind to better help my four-year-old daughter understand why her sister is different than her. And then I shared it here on the blog, and the comments and response to make it into a children's book was BIG.

Didn't see that coming!!!

And you probably didn't see this coming either...

So there ya have it! A children's book that helps answer the many questions little ones have about other children with special needs.

And it doesn't end here. There are ideas rolling around in my head just itching to get on paper {er, screen} and dreams of future books that will introduce the characters of Chloe and her siblings as they learn to help and love their sister with special needs and teach their friends about special needs kiddos, as well as other fun adventures!

Keep your eyes peeled for the release. I'll get my proof copy soon and then shortly after that it'll be ready to order online and into your hands!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Happy 2nd Birthday to Chloe Elizabeth

Happy second birthday, sweet girl. 

You came into this world so, so small at a mere 3lbs 7oz. 

Your first breaths were tiny but mighty little chipmunk squeaks. 

Your first moments were by a loving and caring team surrounding you and making sure that you were gonna rock this. 

And you've been a fighter every since. 

I could spend this portion listing all the many procedures and surgeries you've endured, the long road you've lived in such a short span of time that at times stands still for us, and linger for a while looking back an all the hard days that have soaked up much of your little life. I could mention that some thought we shouldn't have you, while others fought for you in the womb, and the many, many who prayed. I could make note of challenges people said we'd face, the topic of grey zone, or the many risks we've have to sign our names to for your sake and life and health. 

But instead, I'm just going to be a mommy who loves her sweet little miracle child, soak in the images from when you were born until now, and tell you how ever so much we love you. 

Sweet Chloe girl, we're so blessed to call you ours. We're so thankful to know your sweet spirit and watch as you grow and challenge us to learn alongside you. We're in this together. You bring us such laughter and love, tears and joys, lessons and LIFE and teach us more about Jesus every day.  

We love you with every heartbeat of our being, and pray for many more years with you by our side and curled up in our lap. 

Happy birthday sweet girl. 

Love Mama and Daddy, I and A. 


*All professional images courtesy Shelby Liana. 
**No images may be reproduced in any way without written permission of author of blog at 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Our Safe Place

I was up in the night helping take care of our sweet youngest. But she was zonked, and I was still awake. It was in those moments, in the stillness of the night, that I heard our other daughter wimpering. The tiniest of cries, not fully awake, but obviously disturbed by something in her sleep.

I walked out to her bed. She lay tenderly cuddled up in her princess blanket, pulled up past her shoulders. I laid my hand on her, and she slowly opened her eyes to see me.

"What's up, Hun?"

"I had a bad dream," came the soft cry from her sleepy voice.

"What did you dream about?"

"Scary monsters."

"Ah, but you know the monsters aren't real. You're ok." I rubbed her back. The corners of her lips pulled down in a frown.

"Want to come into Mama's room and curl up in our chair for the rest of the night?"

Immediately she popped up and began gathering her things. And by things, I mean her pillow, taggy, blanket, and little toy kitty.

She nested up on our worn but loved rocking chair and fell fast asleep.

I couldn't help but think that this is the way God is with us. When we have scary dreams, be them in our sleep, or real life things of this world that keep us up worrying at night, He is there. He comes along beside our weary eyes, lays His hand upon us, and lovingly allows us to curl up in His lap and share our fears and doubts, like shadows lingering in the night. He doesn't leave us to pull the blankets over our head to protect us from the scary monsters and deal with it on our own. He lets us know He's there.

He pulls us into His presence.

He lets us know we're safe now.

"But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and He answered me from His holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me."
Psalm 3:3-5

We can recall the times that God has cared for us, sheltered us, protected us, and rest knowing God is faithful. That whatever it may be weighing on our tired hearts, that we can even sleep in peace knowing He will sustain us.

This morning I told my daughter to go make her bed. I meant her bottom bunk, where a plethora of stuffed animals and a tangle of blankets was waiting to be straightened up and loved. I left the room and assumed she'd listened and obeyed this task. This afternoon I went upstairs to find that she'd made her bed, laid her blanket out perfectly, pillow in place, and her beloved taggy and kitty were tucked in under the blanket.

In the worn and loved rocking chair in our room.

She found her safe place. Her place of comfort, where she knows she'll be safe and protected when the night begins to come.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Art of Quiet Time

The season of life we're in {hello littles!} makes finding time for myself for quiet and stillness fairly difficult, not to mention quiet time with the Lord. Last week, after a rather long night with a restless little one, my husband offered to swing by my favorite coffee shop and grab me a coffee to drop back off before work.

I did one better. I asked him if I could run out and grab it while he ate breakfast with the kiddos so that I could have a few moments of alone time before my long day. He agreed.

However there was a slight little glitch in the plans.

While I envisioned a quiet car, my mind finally clear enough to let the Lord in, or to have that alone time to listen to music and relax for a bit, my son had other plans. He quite efficiently raced past me, slipped on his shoes in record time, bolted out the door, opened the van door, shut the van door, and was in his seat with his belt on before my fingers touched the driver's side door.

Apparently he was going along. And let the record state that he was fully capable of getting ready and heading out the door quickly. We'll just keep that moment fresh in our minds for the next time we have trouble getting the troops out the door because they haven't put their shoes on yet or grumble that they can't get their seat belt on yet.

So there we were. Me, behind the wheel, and him, grinning from ear to ear in my rearview mirror. Seconds later, before I could put it in reverse, the hubs was at the door motioning for me to stop. It appeared that a little mini version of me was also tagging along now, having convinced her daddy through her tear soaked sobs that she deserved to go along for the ride as well.

So much for mommy time.

I announced to the kids that this was still mommy's quiet time, and that although they were all-aboard the coffee train, I was theoretically alone in the front seat. And then I blared some Rend Collective. They giggled and thought it was funny that they'd hijacked mommy's alone time. Ironically, about three blocks later, my son looked over at his sister and announced in a stern voice, "Please be quiet! I want some alone time!"

REALLY!? Do you understand the meaning of alone time!? Because you imposed on Mommy's!

Sigh. Breathe. It's all good. Hot, smooth coffee was mere minutes away.

I'm realizing more and more as my kiddos get older that quiet time is harder and harder to come by unless I make it a priority. I'm realizing that I need to actually listen to the prompting of the Spirit to go and read or pray or journal, and not just assume I'll have time later in my day if that moment feels like now. I'm learning the balance of not feeling guilty for Saturday morning coffee time out of the house, or other ways to find respite from the many demands of mommyhood. What I am still convicted and struggling and wrestling with is how to choose time with the Lord over other distractions, like movies, Facebook, and other things. While those are OK, I still know that I choose them over time with the Lord more often than not. But I'm learning to give myself grace in finding this balance. It's not going to happen overnight, but with consistency over time.

And to have grace with my kiddos when that mommy time sometimes gets interrupted with giggles and smiles and last minute adventures on the way to scones and caffeine.

On the way home from our little outing, the song "I Will Never Walk Alone" came on, and it seemed very fitting for my mommy world that day, with a slight bit of irony thrown in. The reminder that no matter what my day brings, the Lord is walking with me in it. He's granting me the delight and responsibility of discipling these littles, and He's granting me the wisdom, and truck loads of grace, to go about it. And for the ironic part, that someday I'll go to the bathroom without little feet following me in, or sneak the chocolate without them sniffing it from three rooms and a set of stairs away.

Oh. I should mention that the scones I let them have were espresso chocolate scones. Yep. Coffee scones. It's kind of my own fault they were bouncing all over the walls during school time, and making side comments like, "See, I told you we could freak Mommy out!" 
Sunday, April 10, 2016


It's spring. The trees have been blooming, slowly opening their new buds to let the first touch of sunlight and warmth in. My Instagram feed is blowing up with images of beautiful trees, the hues of April coming to life before our eyes and our screens. 

I went for a walk last night, and took in the stillness of the fresh flowers, and I blew up my own Instagram account with flowergrams. I was able to capture the light through the leaves, each delicate petal and piece of the plant. 

 And I realized again that flowers don't open up their bloom before our eyes. It's a slow, steady revealing, much like constant renewing of our heart before the Lord.

Last week I had a no-so-great moment {evening, like hours plural} with the Lord wrestling with the why me / woe is me / how about a little help here pity party for one. While it's good to wrestle with the Lord on things, this was more like me forgetting every good thing He's done for me and me arguing with Him for what I think is best for me. Flashback to the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. I was complaining about the manna. 

Not a great moment. 

Shortly after that I was reminded that nothing we have is guaranteed, and everything we have is a blessing because in this life, we actually deserve nothing. We are not to live in this spirit of entitlement, be it for our health, our situation, our housing, our finances...whatever the "plenty and want" situation is, the heart of the matter is the simple enduring fact that the Lord will provide what's best for us and in order to draw us closer to Him and for His glory.

I had to repent. I had to seek the Lord's forgiveness for the ugliness of the desires of my heart that are worldly, and in my case were filled with jealousy and discontent, and having taken my eyes off the cross and the bigger picture. I only saw our trials and afflictions. I wasn't seeing the good that has come and will continue to come from them. 

But in doing so, I was made new again. Joy was restored to my fading spirit of love for the Lord in this moment and the place He currently has me in. 

As I walked around our neighborhood last night, taking in deep breaths of the freshly cut grass, the scent of newly opened petals, the fear and trembling and panic of a baby serpent in my path, and the sight of spring all around, I was reminded that not only does the Lord draw us to repentance, but He gently restores our soul. 

In Psalm 51 we are encouraged to ask the Lord to, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." {Psalm 51:10-12} How beautiful that not only is God loving enough to show us the dark and ugly areas of our heart and He does not leave us there to wallow or sink, but gently lifts us out of that pit and renews our spirit back to Him. 

Psalm 32:8 reminds us that, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you." We can call upon the Lord to restore us and lead us. As Christians, following the Lord does not mean we will lead a sinless life, but rather that we can come and confess to Him and ask for renewal within us. And God is good to provide. 

As I was heading home on my walk, I noticed the water steadily draining down the side of the road, running down the hill along my path. In the little stream were the leftovers of the pink petals that had bloomed recently on the trees. They were birthed to bring new life to the trees for spring, announcing with celebration the warm season to come, adorning each branch like a little garland of joy and delight. But in time, they faded and fell.  After they fell, the branches were not left barren and empty, void of the beauty that had just decorated its branches the weeks before, but was graced the green buds of new leaves. 

He restores.

He renews.

And He continues to give life again. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

How To Unwind: A Guide For Other Busy Moms

2:20pm Receive text from the hubs offering to take care of kiddos and cook supper, then release me into the wild metropolis to have a night to myself to do whatever I want. Smile and feel thankful. Continue racing around house to pack for upcoming appointments trip and on a give-meds-now timeline.

4:03pm Receive follow up text asking if I ever got first text, which I did but was too busy to respond. Confirm that this will indeed be the plan.

5:15pm Take first shower in...3? days. Glorious. On schedule. Woot!

5:16pm Child #2 interrupts shower because, "Daddy needs you RIGHT now!!"

5:22-5:33pm Meet with respiratory therapist in our home to help us finally understand an important little device my daughter needs for a breathing treatment.

5:45pm Clean parts to treatment while hubs starts supper. Look at clock. Do the math. Panic that my daylight for me time is waning.

6:02pm Decide I look ugh before going out, and while not trying to impress anyone, decide I also don't desire to scare anyone with these dark circles. Recently started wearing mascara. Decide I can be one of those women who just dab on mascara and rush out the door. Poke eyeball with mascara. Blink fifty times to make sure I can see. Look in mirror. All over eye. Oops. Find make-up remover and remove said particles of blackness. Scrub hands endlessly because product has aloe, which cannot touch child #3. End up doing make-up after all. Time is wasting away.

6:12pm Walk out the door blissfully while child #2 screams bloody murder because she stepped on something invisible. Same child screamed to the heavens twenty minutes earlier because a FLY flew past her. A fly, folks. Those things are brutal.

6:15pm Drive past movie theatre. Consider going to move alone. Picture spraying bottle of disinfectant in seat first. Decide germs aren't worth going to a movie alone.

6:25-7:01pm Wander around Targer. My happy place. Consider shoes for my youngest, but nothing in price range meets criteria. Compare three brands of diapers that don't contain aloe. Actually whip out calculator to determine best purchase. Decide to just get the cheapest.

7:08-7:18pm Drive in circles around parking area. Get bitter when someone takes my spot. Keep thoughts bottled inside.

7:20pm Enter favorite coffee establishment. Look around and take inventory. I am officially the oldest here. Cringe. Look cool. Be normal. Order decaf. My cover is blown.

7:23pm Find seat. See dude who stole my spot. He won't make eye contact. He knows what he did. 

7:25pm Finally sit down for the first time all day. Spill coffee on the table. Look cool. Act normal. 

**I don't get out much. 

...Time to read, write, and just breathe. 

7:44pm Friend emails that I shared our daughter's Facebook page update on the same page instead of our personal page, then says, "Giggle. Tired much?"