It’s time

Close to two years ago I wrote a post titled Transition.  A rambling preach about how Charles and I could see a transition coming.  How we knew a move back to Georgia was happening.  We knew it was going to take awhile and be abrupt all at the same time.

As I sit here tonight in the silence I am awestruck that the transition is here. As of February 1 2016, the Christian family will be residents of Georgia, once again.

Charles went in for an interview for a promotion, and not only did he get the promotion but the company asked if he would be willing to relocate to Georgia.  We of course said yes.  How could we say no?  God has been speaking of this move for many years. The intimate details of what He has worked out are mind boggling.

For tonight, I will this here as a simple announcement of what is to be.  In the weeks to come I hope to lay out the beautifulness of the faithfulness of the Lord.  His compassionate love. His patience for growth in such a long human filled journey.  The elegancy of arms open community.

The time is here.  We are moving to Georgia.

Man Child

Tomorrow, you will be 7, and you have experienced more in your brief 7 years then most.  Our life today isn’t what I thought it would be when you first came into this world.

When you were born, I was bound in chosen captivity. A captivity that made your life selected for you.  You were destined to be a farmer, to carry a last name that wasn’t yours(a name your dad and I carried also that wasn’t ours), and to walk a path without choice.  You could only be what your dad was, and do what the family was doing.  God was bigger though, and he broke us free. Your birth drove your dad  to no longer settle for complacency, and choosing captivity was more intimidating with you in the world.

The story is long, detailed and I hear often it needs to be in a book, yet at the end we left that family.  You, Me and your dad; three strangers practically; forging our way into a world we had hid from.  Yet we couldn’t stop, we couldn’t quit. We had you.  We needed to be okay. To keep moving, to keeping chasing the Lord wherever we felt led.

I am grateful because it led us to our community.  The one we have to this very day.  A community full of choices, broken people pursing health,  messes, and brave communication.

When your sister was born, it was that community that held us.  And it was you who pushed us to not stop.  To not quit.  But to be okay, to keep moving, to keep chasing the Lord wherever he led.  You needed us to be okay, to find the strength to do life with Katie Grace well.  You needed us to be the example of how to find God in the pain. To watch us learn how to lean into his chest and breathe in his peace as your heartbreaks.  You needed to see us trust him when it looked like we shouldn’t.  To chose forgiveness when we had every right to chose bitterness.  To chose grace when could have been angry and to chose to be powerful when we could have been a victim.

Not only did your presence push us but you met us there.  You embraced your sister in the fullness of who she was from the moment we brought her home.  You were insistent upon reading her books each night before bed.  You were careful and aware of how fragile she was.  As her care demanded more, and equipment began to fill our house, you carried an awareness of tubes and cords, diligently making sure not to pull or trip over anything.  That tenderness that wraps your heart and oozes out your pores, drew you to her.  Letting her nurses step in as your playmates but always pretending she was playing with you, sitting next to her as you worked on your leapster including her in your games and photos.

To be honest son, some days I get lost in all that you have had to negotiate in your life. Between your dad and I learning how to do marriage, our sweet Katie Grace, and our rocky beginning; I wonder how on earth you have turned out so well.  Earnest to makes those around you laugh, so free with your love and compliments, your tenderness.  And then I write this, and as I type I am overwhelmed with the bigger picture.  You see you are a catalyst son.  Your dad and I would not be where we are today without you.  We wouldn’t be who we are today without your sister, but surely we would not be where we are without you.  You have held us in account for how we do life.  Your presence has called us to chase after the deeper.  To be better and to keep moving.  You are one, Isaac Adam, who will call people to health.

Please forgive me for every moment, my heart mourned that you didn’t have a “normal” life.  That I thought my “mistakes” took away from you.  I see now…..I see how much I couldn’t have done what I did, if I didn’t have you. And how much that is apart of your destiny.  A part of the greatness that God has for you.

I am going to swap my mourning for dancing and my sorrow for joy.  I am going to dance on injustice and declare the goodness.  Thank you my boy, for being you. For running the race with your dad and I.  For saying yes to your sister. For being the watching eyes that called us to greater. For giving us your laughter, your love, and your tenderness.  You have changed my world in ways I am just beginning to understand.

I love you man child. Happy Birthday!

Katie Grace Graduation

I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get back into the blogging game.  I have another post I am working on but I thought it would be better if I first posted pictures from Katie Grace graduation.

Not gonna lie it was a little intimidating putting together a memorial service or graduation as we call it.  There is so much you have to think about and plan.  It’s pretty surreal.  Suggestion for anybody out there facing a terminal illness and you are going to do a memorial service….plan plan plan ahead.  Decisions were hard to make in the middle of it all…and many times we just had to limit the decisions we made on a day-to-day basis.   In my humble opinion a simple plan is always easy to adjust and change but creating a whole plan can be a lot more work.

Despite our lack of planning I think the graduation ceremony was fantastic.  Once again our community just swooped us up in love.  My friend/boss Amy was our pastor she was someone who was there from the very beginning…a safe place I processed what my life was about to be that first month when Katie Grace was born and the same safe place I learned how to do life with Katie Grace.  She was the perfect person to walk us all through saying goodbye!  We had worship. My friend Michaelann read The Conversation, a post I wrote about what Katie Grace’s coming into the world was really about.  Charles and I said a few words. We had a few people share. We prayed.  And then we released 13 dozen balloons.  Our final congratulations and goodbye to an stunning and powerful little girl.

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To everybody who was able to make it….Thank you!

To those of you who have kept us in your prayers as we have ran this journey…. Thank you!

To Katie Grace I celebrate your race daughter.  You came into this world with a destiny and you fought every step of the way. I am honored to be called your Momma and I am humbled to be the one who was entrusted with your tenacious loving soul. I celebrate that we have an eternity together and our time apart while I am here on earth will seem as nothing once our feet are upon the same ground. You daughter changed my life in the most painful and glorious ways ever. I am better then I ever thought I could be….Thank you!

Actions vs. Words….what’s more important?

“You know what’s more important than stuff mom?” Isaac asked

“What baby,” I answered half-heartedly as I zipped between the rows of comforters and pillowcases surrounding us.

“People, mom.  People that are like 3 years old.”

“What buddy??” I responded as my feet stopped moving and my eyes paused from glancing over everything.

“3 year-old people like Katie Grace….they are more important than stuff. So can we stop shopping and go home so I can take care of my sister.”

“Your right buddy lets head home.”  It was all I could say without tears.

For the second time in a week, I realized I just might be doing something right.

Let me explain.

You see most of the time it feels like Charles and I are walking around a dark room trying to find the dang light switch. Every once in a while we find a flashlight or the moon comes out and sheds some light in the room. Most of the time though, we are just making it up as we go. There is no manual to brain damage and even if there was, each child is so different it could only help so much. How do you raise not only your special needs, medically fragile child but also raise a perfectly healthy one?  How do you buffer the pain of it all and not hide reality from them?  Yeah, we don’t know either.  Except per the conversation above maybe we know more than we think.

The first time I thought I might was doing something right was when we had a parent teacher conference with his Kindergarten teacher last week, and she mentioned that he had been talking to her about his sister.  Charles and I were a bit shocked, we very rarely hear of Isaac talking to other people about Katie Grace.  Of course we begged her to tell us what he said. She told us, he basically told her that his “sister was probably going to die this year” and “that we got a new machine for her, it won’t heal her but it will help her.”  And I was again shocked. His awareness of what is happening blew my mind. He is only 6.  How on earth did he get such a good understanding?  How was he able to verbalize it so well?  He doesn’t mention these things to us!

Many times our conversations look like me stumbling through words to try to figure out how to explain to him what is happening.  Or me figuring out how to say it without profusely apologizing for this painful thing that I can’t control.  Sometimes it looks like me just smiling through the tears, wondering where the flashlight is so I can figure out how to navigate this dark room.  Not often does it include such a mature understanding as he gave his teacher or me that day when we shopped.

As I sat to write this I realized that although in the logical parts of our brains Charles and I have no idea how to do this, our actions are paving the path for Isaac.  The minute we invited the only one who conquered suffering into our walk so that we might also be conquerors, we became the best examples for our son.   It isn’t the correct words, the deep conversations, or the reasoning that is holding our son during this time, its our example. As parents, we want to be able to fix it, to have the answers so it doesn’t hurt, to be able to explain away pain….to help ease. We can easily spend more time figuring out how to help our children avoid pain…then teach them to deal with it.   All of this done with our actions and not our words.   When we put on our pretty faces and say everything is fine, when the tension or stress or fear or pain, is so thick it chokes all who are near, we aren’t teaching our children how to deal….we are teaching them to hide.  Let’s face these things.  Lets speak them out.  Lets be honest about them so that they can loosen their hold and not run the day.  You need 10 minutes to pitch a fit….take it…..and then move on.  Don’t divulge every detail but share with your children…..show them how to process the feelings of life and move on.  There are so many times I have looked at Isaac and just told him my heart is sad today. I am talking to Jesus about it because it will help my heart but today is a rough day.  The tears didn’t stop right away but through them I smiled.  I had sad feelings, which led to a little bit of a rough day, but I stilled smiled, I still loved, I still talked to Jesus, and that is what Isaac saw.

One day he will be the parent who feels like he is walking in a dark room trying to find the dang light switch. My hope is that he will already have the knowledge that it isn’t always about finding the switch but about finding the light.  In finding the light we realize….we just might be doing something right.

DYI Christmas Decorations and Wall paint

This is our first Christmas in our new house and I was so excited to decorate.  I got on Pinterest and was ooohhhhing and aahhing over the amazing crafty and beautiful decorations out there.  Then I realized the center point in my living room gets really really hot when we have a fire…and so a mantel although could work…wasn’t going to be by best choice. And all the amazing crafty beautiful things I was LOVING on Pinterest…needed a mantel.  I took me a day or two but this is what I came up with.

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I LOVE IT!

Charles had some extra wood from the Isaac room re-do so he build me the picture frame. I painted it, then bought the wood letters from Michaels, Modgepodge the scrapbook paper on.  Stapled gunned the letters with string and there it is hung above our fireplace. My mom of course in all her deepness, looks at it and says…”I love how it could also represent suspended belief. Like we are waiting in awe and wonder.”

I love her.

She also added these amazing little touches that really brought in the whole Christmas decoration feel.

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Sorry for this sideways one…we argued about it’s direction and it won.  Sometimes technology is just smarter then me. 🙂

Oh…and I made these to go outside my door.  They are a bit frazzled from a storm we had awhile ago. Excuse their frazzledness:

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Along with all of my Christmas craftiness I have finally painted my living room walls.  I was so tired of white…I lived in a sea of white and I needed color.  When I say I painted my living room, I mean I picked a color and Charles painted.  He is better at it, I don’t fight it. I embrace it. 🙂  Here are some beginning, middle and end pics.

I love him. And the color!

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Yes in case you were wondering that is a color swatch painted on my wall. I had like 5 of them for like 2 weeks. I have a patient family.

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ImageImageImagePlease excuse the medical bag…they are just apart of our life.  No way around them really. 

So there is all my craftiness for the last couple of weeks.  This week I am trying to finish a little homemade project for my nursery team. I love them ladies and I hope they love their gifts 🙂

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