Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Fun Summer Visit Causes Reflection

Today we had the chance to visit with an old friend of mine from our Ames days. We met when we were both newlyweds attending E-Free in Ames. We had our first kiddos just months apart and our 2nd kiddos very close together also. We kept in touch for a time after Mike and I moved to Marshalltown but as the years passed and more children came along and all the busyness that ensued we had lost touch. It was so fun to spend the afternoon together with our kiddos - all 7 of them and catch up, as though we had never lost touch. What a blessing to have friends in the faith who make it so easy to just jump right back in.

Our kiddos all played together so well - not one fight to break up. We took a stroll to a park near their house and the kids played on an amazing, huge slide pyramid and had a great time. Seth joined right in the fun of climbing the stairs and sliding down the very long tube slides. It did a mama's heart good to see him playing with other kiddos. I was blessed by the way my friend's kids reached out to him and included him as much as he would allow. Luke loved the park and playing with friends so much he was asking me at bedtime prayers when we are going back. Bella and my friend's oldest daughter, just 2 months apart in age but a good 9 inches apart in height (Bella's a peanut) were asking in good girl fashion if they could have a sleepover together. The day was a hit for one and all!!

It's summer days like this that make me realize how blessed I truly am, despite the challenges God has allowed in my life He has given the strength to carry on and find joy and peace in the midst. This dear friend knew me during a time in my life when I was struggling greatly with depression following the boys' births and diagnosis. She asked me how I am now doing and commented that I seem so happy now. I took a moment to remember and reflect on how far God has brought me. There are still hard days and weeks, but by the grace of God I have joy and peace in the midst of the struggles and have experienced a great deal of victory over the depth of depression that I formally struggled with. I realize that trials are a major part of the journey of life for many in this world and have decided (on most days) to embrace the journey and learn all I can about my God and myself. I have come to a place of ultimately desiring to praise God with my life no matter what. I have learned to turn to Him with my fears, frustrations, joys and triumphs and I pray that in all things I can give Him the glory!!

Psalm 115:1 says, "Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness." This is the cry of my heart as of late. That God could receive all the glory as I raise my kiddos, love and serve my husband, minister to others at church and work, and all the times in between those. God's unfailing love and faithfulness is worthy of our ongoing worship with the whole of our lives. Not to us, but to You goes all the glory!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seeing Some Changes

As we are settling back into a more regular schedule we are excited to begin to see some more growth in Seth. He is mastering goals in his in-home therapy program that we had been working on for months. His list of newly mastered goals grows longer each day. Sunday he spent part of the day with a respite provider who had not seen him in over 2 months. Dan shared that he could see some great changes in Seth. Seth was clearly communicating his wants (through his Dynavox) and was more present than Dan had seen him before. Dan also said that Seth's xbox skills had improved dramatically (Seth and Dan enjoy playing video games together - it's become part of their routine). We have also seen progress in some of his goals with speech and occupational therapy. His core strength has improved significantly and his receptive language is growing by leaps and bounds.

Verbal language is still absent and his head banging has been pretty bad lately, but we are hopeful that all the therapies he received in North Carolina and Colorado have made a positive impact in his life. We will be seeing a new doc in Omaha next week. Dr. Moreno took the place of the doc that we had been seeing. I have done some further research on this new doc and am hopeful he will have some fresh ideas to help Seth. We are also on the waiting list for a new doc in Chicago if Dr. Moreno is not the right fit for us. And we are talking about doing more hyperbaric at a clinic in Wisconsin. We don't know when or really how, but do feel it's something we'd like to try again to see if there would be further growth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Busy Week

It's only Wednesday and I'm all tired out! It's VBS week for our family. The kids are having a great time and I'm enjoying having a much more laid back role with VBS this year - just doing a little tech support and taking care of the itty bitties 3 mornings, but I'm still feeling pooped out on this Wednesday afternoon. Managing all the schedules with therapy, work, ministry, and throwing VBS on top of all that has taxed me mentally this week. I feel like I'm running in 7 different directions at times, but such is life for many I know. I'm hoping the rest of the summer will feel a bit more laidback - a girl can hope right!?!

Luke invited his best friend from school to VBS and we were all excited that T agreed to come. T has been having a great time and plans to come all week. From what I can gather T and his family do not attend church regularly. We are praying that T will understand the message of the gospel and ask Jesus into his heart this week. Bella also has enjoyed bringing a friend who already knows Jesus. It's fun to see the kids discover faith and grow in it.

We are looking forward to the coming weekend as Bella will be baptized on Sunday. She is very excited to take this step in her faith and publicly proclaim her trust in Christ. I am often humbled by her faith and commitment to the Lord and her understanding of spiritual things. While in Nebraska on our last trip my brother was so touched to find her first thing in the morning at the kitchen table having her quiet time. This is a daily choice she is making with very little prompting from me to grow in her faith after I challenged the kids to start the habit of a quiet time last summer. It does a mother's heart good to see such choices being made.

Sunday will be a fun day with our church's annual Johnson Farm Sunday - worship outdoors, baptisms, and a picnic lunch together followed by an afternoon of outdoor activities. It's always a wonderful time of worship and fellowship together that will be made more special by Bella's baptism.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Playlist Added

Thanks to my beautiful sister-in-law Chelsea, and her wonderful blog, I figured out how to add a playlist to my blog with a few of my favorite songs. You can scroll down to the bottom of the page when you visit my blog to choose from the song playlist - which is short at this time, but I will add more as time goes by.

The lead song on my playlist is called He's My Son and is a tune that regularly brings Mike and I to tears. It so perfectly portrays the emotions we face each day with Seth. It was written about a little boy with cancer. I recently heard from a friend who attended a Mark Schultz concert this summer that the boy who inspired the song is now a teenager and cancer-free - PTL!!

I hope you will enjoy the addition of some of my favorite songs as you visit my blog.

The Journey Continues

Our trip to Nebraska and Colorado went wonderfully. We enjoyed seeing family, friends, and taking in the beautiful scenery. We were so blessed by the obvious way God worked to give us a special experience with Adam's Camp. And now we are so happy to be home. Seth has started back into his therapy schedule and we will also be working on some academics through the summer as we get settled back in.

Bella and Luke are struggling to come down off the "vacation high". They think I'm going to have exciting things for them to do throughout the day, each day - sorry kiddos, vacation's over. They are looking forward to VBS next week - that will satisfy the activity high for the week, then I only have 5 more weeks or so to entertain them until school starts again. Big piles of books from the library each week will keep them busy along with the occasional play date with friends and trips to the aquatic center. I think I'll make use of their boundless energy and have them help me accomplish the long list of things I need to get done around the house, including a thorough cleaning and massive decluttering of closets and the toy room. After that I hope to get some scrapbooking done before starting full time back into the homeschooling schedule in the fall. All this might be a bit optimistic, but it's good to have goals!

We continue to ask God for direction in Seth's therapy/education program. We are considering changing to a new biomedical doctor out of Chicago and are currently on her waiting list and will hear in 6-8 weeks when we can get in with her. We are looking into a hyperbaric clinic in Wisconsin as a possibility for additional treatments with that therapy. This center is a bit more expensive than North Carolina, but would be close enough for Seth and I to come home each weekend. We are talking with the Christian school in our town about a weekly social skills group for Seth in exchange for me teaching a weekly music class there.

Most of all we continue to pray for God's healing hand in our little boy's life. We pray that we will see growth in his life as a result of the great opportunities he's had with hyperbaric and Adam's Camp over the past 2 1/2 months. The journey continues. Sometimes I wish the destination seemed closer at hand; that we were seeing more obvious, major progress, but unfortunately I can't control that. So I will press on and pray for strength to persevere with joy in the midst of the journey.