Tonight I’ve just been thinking about this past year and my heart is filled with gratitude! Even though I haven’t posted very much this year I wanted to at least write what is on my mind right now. I’m so grateful! Grateful for the blessings that God has given us and the things he has taught us. And by blessings I don’t just mean tangible or material things, although he has continued to provide over and over and that has been a true answer to prayer! I mean the blessings of being refined, shaped and molded by the Holy Spirit, and slowly and patiently shown more of himself to me. Most of my days (and by most I mean pretty much everyday:)) are spent changing diapers, preparing meals, playing with my kids, teaching them, and being a wife to an amazing man who is in and out of town often. My days are long and much of the time my patience is tested, my house is a mess, there is always laundry to do, I can’t leave the room for a minute before I’m needed again, I don’t have much time for myself and when I’m out anywhere with my kids people often say, “you have your hands full!” Well here is what it all boils down to – I would much rather have my hands full than empty!
The days are long but the years fly by and this year my patience has been refined and I’ve learned more about the importance of being thankful! Thankfulness bring joy! This life is more than I could have ever dreamed and harder than I ever thought it would be, and I wouldn’t trade it! When I take those moments to be thankful for the smallest of things like a couple extra minutes of sleep in the morning to big things like the gift of assurance of salvation through Jesus, my heart is joyful. And joy helps me reorder my heart and I am able to be more receptive to the Lord. When I think of JOY I think of this… J – Jesus, O – Others, Y- You!
The Lord has shown me bits and pieces of himself through my children. He reminds me particularly that we need to have child-like faith in Christ. And just as dependent as my children are on me right now is how I need to be with God. Like I said, I can’t leave the room for a minute before I’m needed or called on again. So I am reminded quite often. 🙂
Thank you Jesus for this wonderful year filled with time with my amazing children and a husband who is faithful and loves me so much. Thank you for time with my extended family, both expected and unexpected. Thank you for a getaway for Jeremy and I. Thank you for our healthy bodies and access to health care, a roof over our heads, more than enough food, a free car, all the safe traveling we have been able to do, and for putting people in my life who are the hands and feet of Jesus to me! Thank you for the amazing church body and community of faith to belong to as well as a great group of moms who have children with DS! Thank you for all the wonderful care we have been given for Liam and the people we have met as a result. AMEN!
I am GRATEFUL! Happy New Year!
Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Here is a link to a song by Jason Gray. It has been stuck in my head all day and it expresses how I’m feeling right now! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEsH0mUcg0w
It was a beautiful day in TN on Thursday last week and Jeremy took the morning off so that we could take the kids to the zoo for the first time! I’m pretty sure it was more fun for Jeremy and I but the kids had fun too.;) It’s just so exciting to be able to see it through their eyes. Liam was given a Baby Animals DVD from my grandparents a couple years ago and it features animals from the San Diego Zoo and Liam has watched it least 50 times! On the DVD there is a song that describes each animal, so as we saw the different animals of course I had to sing all the songs and I’m pretty sure he loved it! Liam also received a tiger shirt for Christmas last year (he loves tigers mostly because he can growl like one whenever he sees one) so he wore it and I couldn’t take enough pictures of him.
Liam loves meerkats and I think it’s because I sing the song about them from the DVD all the time. 😉 He also has a book with meerkats in it so he enjoyed smiling and pointing at them as they ran by us.
One of my mother’s many creative outlets is painting. When I was a little girl she painted me a watercolor with Proverbs 3:5-6 on it and hung it above my dresser in my room. It read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I remember reading this painting on my wall over and over and it soon became ingrained in my mind. It became my life verse. I wish I would’ve kept the painting – I don’t know what happened to it.
Now that I have my own children I want to “give” them a verse. A life verse, like the one my mom painted for me. God’s word is eternal. I want my children to have His truth imprinted on their hearts and have it be a prayer over their lives. After Liam was born my older sister gave us a set of Veggie Tales books, and the verse at the end of every book was the first part of Psalm 139:14. The NIV (New International Version) translation of this verse says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” But the version on the Veggie Tales books says, “How you made me is amazing and wonderful.” At the time we read these books to Liam over and over (and still do). That verse really touched me because of the unexpected surprise of Liam’s Down syndrome. It fit him quite well and so I made that his life verse using the version from the Veggie Tales books. I also wanted to find a way to display it in his room so you will see what I did below. This picture was taken just about a year ago.
I am currently in search of Karis’ life verse. Her name is the Greek word for ‘grace’. The word ‘charis’ is used over 170 times in the New Testament – needless to say there are plenty of verses to choose from! We want to get her dedicated at our church in March at which point we will share her life verse, so I have some time to keep praying about it. I’ll keep you posted as to what we decide.
I don’t know if my mom expected me to memorize that particular passage or even make it my life verse when she hung that painting in my room. But she gave me a gift of truth that I will never forget and I want to pass that on to my children.
We had the privilege of having our good friend Sara Harper come over to the hospital tonight and photograph Liam’s introduction to his baby sister. Click on the image below to see a slideshow of the very first family pictures we have (Erin’s parents were also in the room with us so we have some beautiful shots of Karis with her grandparents too). The slideshow will open in a new window. Enjoy – and thank-you Sara!
Our good friend Sara Harper came over and captured some GREAT footage during Liam’s first birthday party. Enjoy this video!
Yes it’s true – we are having a girl! The ultrasound tech showed us and I was in such disbelief that I smacked her in the arm and said, “No way!?” We are super excited! Jeremy called this one… so he’s two for two now! We haven’t come up with a name yet, but we will keep that a secret until we see her face. We are just so thankful that God is blessing us with another little one, and everything looks great so far. We meet with our doctor to discuss the ultrasound on Thursday, but the tech didn’t give us any reason for concern so that was encouraging.
May this little girl grow up to glorify our great God!
In this picture she is sucking her thumb! So cute!
Here is a video of Liam’s ceremony this morning at church. It was pretty moving – enjoy!
Many of you may have figured out where I went for Easter judging by my Twitter the other day. But for those of you who don’t know, let me fill you in! Jeremy and I used our frequent flier miles (one of the perks Jeremy has for traveling so much) and flew to Montana for Easter to surprise my parents. We flew into Bozeman, MT and stayed with my older sister Julie and her family for a couple days first. While we were with her we set up a 3-way video chat with my parents (who live 3 hours from my sister) – we made it look like Jeremy and I were still in TN. We were just chatting away as if nothing was different when I told my parents I would go grab Liam so they could say hi to him. Instead, I went and grabbed Maya (Julie’s new little girl). You’ll see pictures of Maya below – she looks distinctly different from Liam, mostly because of her head full of long black hair! Well, I brought her in and held her up to the camera… and my parents didn’t catch on right away. They just thought Liam had grown a bunch of hair all of the sudden!! My dad kept saying he needed more bandwidth because he knew something didn’t look right. Eventually Julie left her screen and came over to ours and put her face next to mine and we said “Happy Easter!!!” At that point they finally figured out that we were in Montana, not Nashville! So that was a lot of fun. We figured we’d let my parents in on it before we showed up at their doorstep a couple days later just to give them a little time to plan. It worked out really well and we were able to celebrate Easter all together and it was a blast!
My parents have an absolutely breathtaking view from their deck which definitely adds to the celebration of the resurrection. Our traditional family Easter weekend schedule goes like this: on Friday we attend a Good Friday service (which we didn’t end up doing this year), then Saturday we dye and paint Easter eggs, and Sunday we celebrate the resurrection at church! And we ALWAYS take a formal family photo after church. Especially this time since we won’t be all together again until Christmas. I’ve posted lots of pictures below so you can get a glimpse of the fun time we had at Easter!
As my sister Jacque says, “we take our egg dying seriously.”
Jacque’s masterpiece… a sunset over the ocean!
Our family with a view from my parent’s deck… it came out dark so I had to lighten it a bit, so it looks kind of fake.
The new babies… Maya and Liam!
Liam loved his Easter basket from Grandma;)
Julie and her beautiful little girls!!
This last weekend Liam got to meet one of his many aunts and uncles for the first time! Aunt Jacque and Uncle Andrew came down from Montana to meet their new nephew and we had a blast. They are both SO good with Liam. Uncle Andrew managed to get plenty of smiles from Liam too! This was Andrew’s first time to visit Nashville so of course we had to take him to the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills! We went to Opry Mills first and Andrew manned the stroller while Jacque and I had some good quality girl bonding shopping time. Andrew was such a good sport – especially since Jeremy was out of town. Then we met up with my college friends Heather and Valerie for some more girl bonding time. This was also their first time meeting Liam. It’s always a breath of fresh air to see these two ladies! We headed over to the hotel and walked around for a bit and grabbed a bite to eat at a Pizzaria in the Delta conservatory. While we were at the hotel there was a severe thunderstorm with tornado warnings near our house so I was glad to have spent the day somewhere else.
Andrew is studying to be a history professor so I thought it would be a good idea to show him some Civil War history while he was in the heart of the South. Andrew served as a Marine in Iraq for 9 months so needless to say this was very interesting for him. On Monday we went to the Carnton Mansion in Franklin. It was used as a hospital during the Battle of Franklin. You can learn more about it at www.carnton.org. It was such a beautiful day to explore the grounds and enjoy the weather. I wore Liam in the Baby Bjorn as we took a tour through the mansion and he slept through the majority of it! He seems to do pretty well in the Bjorn considering the weight of his brace. I tried to take the weight off periodically by lifting his feet. One more month and he will only have to wear it at night and during naps – I’m counting down the days! Anyway, after the tour we came back home and Jacque made shrimp pasta with spinach – it was divine. It’s always nice to have a break from cooking!
Jeremy came home that evening and we ended the day with some “Jacktion” watching 24;). I had a great time with my dear sister and brother-in-law and look forward to seeing them again soon!