Friday, September 16, 2011

Train Wreck

I promise to write more of Anderson's story soon! I wasn't trying to create a cliff hanger, I honestly just didn't want anyone to get bored reading the whole story in one sitting :)

I have not written any more this week, however, because my house is a train wreck.




and since I have a personal rule that blogging will never take away from my time playing with these guys, I have been busy.


More of Anderson's story coming soon.

Until then, please continue to read my dad's blog and keep praying for our family!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anderson's Story


Oh, there is so much to tell about our precious baby, Anderson. I don't know where to start with this little one's story... Perhaps I need to just start at the very beginning.

It was almost a year ago today... I had just recently finished my comprehensive exams in Dallas, Texas, for my PhD work; and I was in a great mood. I was done studying. I was done writing (for the moment). James, Austin, and I had enjoyed the summer together and a new school year was fresh underway. I was teaching PreK across the hallway from Austin's class, and James was really enjoying his new career.

I thought that something might be different, however, so...

I took a pregnancy test and it confirmed right away what I already thought in my heart.

We were going to have a baby!

... and I will be honest, in those moments, I was completely overwhelmed.

We had been praying for several dear friends who were battling infertility. James and I were in the process of rebuilding our own marriage. We no longer owned a home. I was just about to start the dissertation phase of a PhD. My sister-in-law had just discovered that she was pregnant (and I didn't want to steal any attention away from that news).

I will never forget telling Austin that I needed a few minutes of quiet time and allowing him to watch a movie in the living room. I slowly walked to the master bedroom and shut the door. I sat up on our bed and immediately began to pray. "Lord, are you sure? Is this your plan? How am I going to tell James? What is James going to say?"

And over and over again in my mind, I could only hear one verse, "I will restore what the locusts have eaten."

"Lord, will you work all of this out?"

"I will restore what the locusts have eaten."

"God, will you prepare James' heart for this news."

"I will restore what the locusts have eaten."

No matter how many questions I asked or how fervently I prayed, this one Bible verse kept replaying over and over in my mind. It is from Joel 2:25. It says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten."

Here is how another blogger describes locusts: "A few years ago, I watched a TV program on wild locusts and the way they destroyed everything that stood in their path. With devastating effect, they descended upon a field of corn. Within half an hour the swarm wiped out the entire field of corn, leaving nothing but a vast wasteland."

and another writer says, "Locusts! Have you seen what they can do? They can literally decimate a crop in minutes. Rendering whole villages , farmers and their families without food or income. Can you imagine the pain and stress that having your livelihood taken away like that brings? Having your crops destroyed may create a struggle for your very survival."

I can relate. For those that don't know our story, James and I have faced our share of locusts in recent years. Locusts that left us without jobs, without income, without a home, and hanging on by only strands at what was left of our marriage. My dad continues to battle a terminal illness and everything that I had counted on for security was gone. I was in a struggle for my very survival...

The locusts had eaten. They had ravaged. They had destroyed.

And then we found out about Anderson.

To be continued...


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Five Months!

I wasn't planning to take a five month leave of absence from my blog, but it was a much needed break. We have been busy. Each day of the past five months deserves a blog post all in itself, but I need to start living again in today, so I will just do a quick picture summary of some of the key events from the past five months.

As each day passed, I continued to get bigger and bigger with pregnancy!

and so did my sister-in-law, Sharon.

We spent as much time as possible in Clearwater with my dad - who is still fighting his battle with multiple myeloma.

I kept teaching with some of my favorite people at Sonshine Day Preschool

And as a family we tried to visit Disney as much as possible before our summer black out dates set in.


Austin and Mommy ready for the school's spring program!
Austin and I participated in the Spring program at school

And Austin turned Five Years Old! (His cousin, Andrew, turned six)

My nephew, Riley was born, and mom and dad went from four grandchildren to five!

I received the package of a lifetime from my dear friend, Amber... and finally felt prepared for the arrival of our new son!

We celebrated Easter

and decided that since life wasn't busy enough we might as well buy a new home.

And then, ON MAY 20, 2011, we gave birth to our son, ANDERSON!!!

Austin meeting Anderson for the first time with his Aunt Kendra (James' sister).
And from their first meeting, Austin and Anderson have been the best brothers!

Austin graduated from PreK

And we celebrated as a new family of four (Anderson two weeks old!)

At Anderson's two week appointment, we discovered that his newborn screen showed he carried at least one recessive gene for cystic fibrosis.

So, as we celebrated life, we also entered the world of constant doctors appointments and genetic testing.

Anderson continued to grow and gain weight (for which we were all so thankful)

I had some precious visits from some of my oldest and dearest friends


And with the help of our church family, we moved into our new home! I couldn't have done it without them.

We enjoyed the final days of summer before school started again...

Austin started Kindergarten and I was offered a new job...

and we finally received the news of Anderson's dna testing.

But those are all stories for tomorrow...

Hello again, Blogger. It is good to be back.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What does it feel like to die?

As Austin and I drove home from school today, I asked him about his day. We talked briefly about his friends, the playground, the sand in his shoes, and the spring program scheduled for this evening.

After some quiet moments, Austin asked me a question. "Mom." He said, "What does it feel like to die?"

I paused.

We talk openly about life with Austin. We talk openly about death. We pray nightly for his grandpa who is fighting a very difficult journey with multiple myeloma. I want Austin to always feel comfortable asking us about anything, so I answered as honestly as I could.

"What does it feel like to die?"

"I don't know, Austin." I began. "I don't know what it feels like to die... I think that it probably hurts for just a second and then you don't feel any more pain. I believe in heaven, Austin. So, even if death hurts for just a moment, you will never feel pain again and you will be so happy."

Austin sat quietly in the backseat for a long time.

I wondered if I had said too much.

I wondered if I should have eliminated the word pain from my explanation.

I wondered why he was asking me about death.

"Mom, I don't think death is like that." He began slowly.

"I think that death is more like jumping off a diving board...

You are so scared...

and you don't want to do it...

but once it's over, then you are just so happy,

and you realize that you had nothing to be scared of in the first place."

and then we both just rode in silence.

"What do you think, mom?" Austin asked.

"Do you think that's what it feels like to die?"

I don't know sweet boy, but I do know what it feels like to receive the wisdom of God through my four-year-old son...

Monday, February 7, 2011

to LIVE...

In January, many of my friends (and fellow bloggers) chose a word to live by in 2011.
A single word.
A word that they wanted to strive for, to uphold, to motivate them throughout the upcoming year.
I never wrote about it, but I chose a word as well: LIVE.

I want to LIVE in 2011. As my dad's illness continues to progress, I struggle with the realization that life is truly but a breath. I don't want to take a single moment for granted and I want to enjoy life. I want to live in 2011.

As a new life grows inside of me during this time, I realize that I am surrounded by newness in this life. New restoration in my marriage. New hope for the days to come. New life.

And for a girl like myself, a rule follower to every degree... living can become the challenge. I have lived my first 33 years trying to make sure that everything was done correctly. Always earning the A in the class. Always considering the ramifications of my actions. Always trying to follow the rules... in the hopes that life would be fair in return. Within the rule follower, I have discovered that there is the unspoken thought, "If I play by the rules, then life will be safe. If I obey, then I will not get hurt."

I have played by the rules, and life has not been safe. Life has been scary - actually horrifying at moments. I played by the rules, and I have still faced infidelity, loss of income, loss of home, and dad's horrible illness. Yet, I have also found that playing by the rules prepared me, discipled me, convicted me during every terrifying moment. So, my goal is not to stop playing by the rules. My dream is to LIVE life to the full within those very rules. Within the context of striving to be sanctified (to be a Godly woman) is it possible to just sit back and enjoy every moment... not fearing what tomorrow may bring?

And so, I haven't written a lot since January. I haven't written, but oh, how I have been living. Soaking in a warm bed on a Saturday morning, traveling with dear friends for a weekend of skiing, laying still with my hands on my belly and enjoying every kick from our growing baby. Laughing out loud at my four-year-old's jokes. Enjoying every second of James and Austin wrestling together at night. Praising God for the coziness of our tiny apartment. Trying to take any moment to visit my parents out of town and enjoying them while I am there. Eating a huge piece of dad's birthday cake because I am just so thankful for the celebration of his 60 years. Dressing like a pirate because that is just the thing to do when you are a four year old boy... living my life.

For He (Jesus) came that I would have LIFE and LIVE it to the full.

And so I look for the balance in 2011... but mostly importantly, I have made my choice: to live.

Just some of the living that we have been doing lately:


I am so in love with this man!



The whole family just sitting and laughing and enjoying Dad's 60th birthday!


Eating cake!


Going to pirate birthday parties!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's a...


Today was our 20 week ob appointment, and we found out that we are having another boy! We are beyond thrilled (although I might have secretly had hopes for hair bows and smocked dresses). Once we heard the news, however (and saw that precious baby on the screen), there was absolutely no disappointment. A BOY! A BROTHER FOR AUSTIN!

After my appointment, I went back to school to pick up Austin and tell him our good news. "Austin," I said. "Mommy just had a doctor's appointment, and we saw your baby on a computer screen. Guess what? It is a BOY!"

Austin just stared at me. "Mom," he finally said. "I told you all along that it was going to be a boy." He was so determined... so insistent this entire time that he was going to have a little brother. I am actually glad that it is a boy because I don't think he would have believed anything else.

On the way home, he called his Granny to tell her that he was going to have a brother. After their brief conversation, he started to tell me all the things he wanted to teach his little brother. "I will teach him how to fly a kite. I will teach him how to play Mario Kart on the Wii..." Finally, Austin looked up at me and said. "Mom, you teach him how to walk and talk and I'll teach him the rest. How does that sound?"

That sounds just about right, sweet boy. Just about right.

Now that my mind is officially switched to blue, I am researching cribbing, nursery ideas, and names for our precious little boy. Some of you may or may not know that when we told Austin we were expecting (in September!) he told us that it was going to be a boy and we were supposed to name him Ryan. (Ryan is his best friend at school). He might have been right about the gender, but the verdict is still out about the name!

I have so many thoughts about having another son! I love my relationship with Austin and love the way that he loves his mommy. Just tonight at dinner Austin asked me what I wanted for my next birthday. (My birthday isn't until November!)

"Just hugs and kisses from you!" I told my pre-birthday planning son.

"Oh, mom. Those you can have any day for free. I am going to give you a huge bouquet of flowers and definitely a new sewing machine."

I have no idea why I am getting a new sewing machine, but he is determined...

and he is normally right.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Enjoying Every Moment

On New Year's Eve, we woke up late and then went over to the Q's house to meet up with James' family. We had decided to spend our day shopping, and it was soon determined that we would head to Micanopy for lunch and antiques.


Micanopy is a quiet little town known for its antique shopping and its debut in the movie "Doc Hollywood."

Our little family spent more time taking pictures than shopping, but I had a wonderful day with my boys (and in-laws)!




We had the best time just swinging our feet, soaking in the sunshine, and enjoying the days together before we all head back to work.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

He Makes All Things New!


A New Year! Whoo Hooo!!! I am just a little bit excited about saying goodbye to 2010 and hello to a brand new year. I love a fresh start, a clean page, a new beginning. 2010 was quite a year for our family. Once again, I am thankful that I didn’t know everything that would happen and I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning.

I just started to write a review of 2010 and all that happened from January – December… but then I decided that I am just ready to start new… to focus on the things that are to come…

So, 2011, we are so thankful that you are here.


I am still working on my list of resolutions. I LOVE resolutions. I love lists. I love goals. I hope that you will see some evidence of the fulfillment of my resolutions as I blog more faithfully in 2011! I want Austin to have a recorded history of his life, and this is the reason I started blogging. I want him to know what our life was like as a small child.

So... here's to new goals, new blogging, a new BABY, new ideas, and new dreams. Welcome 2011!