Family Crest

Canon is studying medieval times at school. Friday’s assignment was to create his own family crest. The students were given lots of options… including colors, animals and objects all listed with its respective symbolic meaning. Canon put a lot of thought into his shield and chose symbols that had special meaning to him and to our family. Here’s his shield:

And here is Canon’s explanation…

Here is a list of the things I chose and their meaning:

  • Black: grief (I chose black because of all the grief we’ve had since my sister, Anne’s, car accident)
  • Gold: generosity (I chose gold because of all the generosity people have shown us since the car accident.)
  • Lion: courage (I chose the lion because we have to have courage to get over what happened to Anne.)
  • Wolf: perseverance (I chose the wolf because we have to have perseverance to keep hoping that Anne will continue to heal.)
  • Horse: duty (I chose the horse because if you want to be a believer of Christ you have to be ready to do his bidding.)
  • Fox: wisdom ( I chose the fox because we need God’s wisdom to make good decisions for Anne and the rest of our family.)

I think all of these things are characteristics of our family.

I’m so thankful that Canon thinks deeply about the spiritual implications of Anne’s accident. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for him!!!!

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Value of a Dad

Canon struggled during the first week of school. If you asked him what his favorite part of school was, he’d say, “math.” Recess and lunch were at the bottom of the list. All the boys play soccer during recess, and Canon would just stand on the side – moping. I had a few talks with Canon that went something like this… “Canon – just go play. You’ll have fun. You’ll see.” Those words were worthless…

Eric, on the other hand, seems to know exactly what to say to Canon. Sunday night, he gave Canon an exercise physiology lesson. He talked about muscles squeezing, blood pumping and serotonin levels in the brain. Canon listened. What was his favorite part of school Monday? Recess. He scored two goals playing soccer with the boys. So of course I asked him “Why’d you play?” His answer… “Daddy told me that exercising during recess is good for my mind.” Boys. You gotta love ’em.

School update

Well… Sweet Anne is having difficulty inhibiting her talking and frustration level in class – especially when she gets tired. It’s all understandable. I am meeting with several of Anne’s teachers and therapists on Friday to work out a strategy that is best for Anne.

Please pray that God would give everyone a flexible spirit and grant us all wisdom and clarity regarding Anne’s schedule and behavior strategies. I’ve already had a good conversation with Anne’s primary case manager and her para-pro. I’m encouraged that Anne is surrounded by advocates who truly want what is best for her!!!

Canon and Kate are also doing well… But Canon is struggling a little with not having “immediate” friends. I think he expected to be best friends with everyone in his class by the second day. He’s learning a good lesson about how to make friends – and I’m thankful he can learn in a safe environment. The kids in his class are super sweet, and I’m sure Canon will have plenty of friends soon :-)

It’s never boring around here!!! -kathryn

School

All three children start school on Monday. For the first time in nine years, I will have consistent time at home… ALONE! I’m very excited! We got to meet all of their teachers yesterday. I was overwhelmed with gratitude as it seems that God has hand-picked the perfect teachers for all three of them.

Anne will be in a general-ed kindergarten class. Her teacher is a former special-ed teacher and from what I hear, is extremely patient. That’s a good thing :-) Anne will share a para-pro with one other special-ed student, and the rest of her class are general ed children. If you would have told me a year ago, that Anne would be a member of a regular kindergarten class, I wouldn’t have believed you! Anne is still under the special-ed umbrella and will continue to receive tons of therapy at school, but she will spend the majority of her time in a typical kindergarten class. Let’s pray she does well!!

Canon and Kate are going to the same school that Anne attended when the accident happened, Atlanta Classical Christian Academy (ACCA). They are both very excited about their teachers. Since I’ve always home-schooled Canon, this will be the first year that he will attend regular school. He’s a little nervous, but I think he’s more excited. When we visited their school yesterday, we were approached by several families that have been praying for Anne since the accident. It’s such a comfort to enter such a supportive community of families at ACCA!

Please pray for Anne as she transitions to regular school. Pray that she will have an extra dose of stamina, so that she might not get over tired and frustrated. Also pray for one friend for Anne. Her greatest fear is that she would not have any friends. I think if she just had one friend, she would feel accepted…

Thank you! -kathryn

Goodness

Anne’s self awareness is continuing to improve. And as a result, I feel like she’s sad a lot…

“I’m not good at anything Mommy.”
“I’m sorry I’m such a problem, Mommy.”
“God doesn’t love me, Mommy.”

Imagine how hard it would be to see your brother and sister run, laugh and play… without you. Especially when she was literally in the middle of their play before the accident. But Canon and Kate show Anne tremendous compassion. They are the first to encourage her when she becomes discouraged, and there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing your children encourage one another!

Kate just gave a “good report” about how well Anne did at the pool today… And then Canon piped in describing how great Anne did at speech therapy. I know God is bringing good out of our story… and it is especially encouraging to see His character so evident in my children!

So thankful :-)

Radio Silence

Sorry for the long absence. The month of May marks the end of school, and since my three children are in three different schools… well, we’ve been busy. Kate’s last day was Friday; Canon & Anne both finish Wednesday, and our summer will begin.

Frankly, I’m a little anxious about summer. I usually love having my children at home, but Anne is in a “demanding” phase which makes life difficult. But it forces me to interact with her, which is vital for her continued development and recovery.

Adding to my anxiety is the fact that I have been a bit lazy about reading the bible lately – which is always a source of great comfort for me. I’m sure God still has a good plan for Anne’s life – it’s just hard for God to remind me when I’m not reading His word!

Sigh. I can’t wait for heaven :-)

Canon’s prayer

Just weeks after the accident, I had a hard conversation with Canon about Anne… “Anne’s brain has been hurt. We don’t know how that will affect Anne. There could be things about her that will be different.” Canon, in honorable big-brother fashion, took all this in, cried a bit and turned brave. All the time Anne was in the hospital, Canon prayed, “God, please help Anne talk and walk and run again.  But we know that none of these things matter compared to this: please let her remember her faith in you.” The first time he prayed this, I inwardly screamed, “NO! Those things DO matter. I want her to talk. I want her to walk.” And if I were honest, I wanted my Anne back more than I wanted her to “remember her faith” in God.

God has changed me. That’s the only explanation for what I’m about to write. Now – my greatest desire is for her to remember her faith in God… For her to know Him intimately, and to tell of His mighty works in her life. For her to know His love that is wider and higher and deeper than her wildest dreams. If from eternity past, God knew that Anne would have to pass through this tragedy and suffer physical and cognitive disability in order to win her heart for Himself – well so be it. We’ll walk this road and rejoice for the eternity we’ll spend made whole in heaven.

Canon doesn’t pray that prayer anymore… but I pray it for him. God let Anne know you…. and she will be healed, forever.

Three voices

I’m reading three books right now… This seems all too common, but it’s new ground for me. I’m not used to having three different authors competing for my attention. It just leads to lots of unorganized thoughts swirling around in my head, but I think the clearest voice right now comes from Nancy Guthrie. Her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow is excellent.

She lost two infants to the same rare genetic disorder. She knows sorrow. And her questions are the same questions I’ve grappled with. Why doesn’t Jesus heal today like He did when He walked the earth? How do we reconcile His promises of protection and peace in the midst of hurricanes and terrorists (and brain injuries)? Who is responsible for my sorrow… me? Satan? God? Did God just allow the accident to happen – or did He ordain it?

These are hard questions, and she gives satisfying answers. She writes that it is our eternal home that is most important to God. My honest reaction to that reminds me of Kate whining when she has to wait ’til after dinner to get her desert. Seriously, child? Don’t you have any concept of delayed gratification? Well, I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from… me.

Which leads me to the 2nd book I’m reading… Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Her book is all about how to “Live Fully Right Where You Are.” It’s a great book about how thankfulness opens the door to joy, but I’m too busy whining (like Kate) to experience very much gratitude- at least for now…

My third book is a Romanian pastor’s doctoral thesis on suffering, matyrdom and the rewards of heaven… He argues that suffering on earth advances the Kingdom of Heaven – the prime example being Jesus, Himself. If we are called to suffer and/or die for the Kingdom, it is a great Eternal victory! There’s that word again… eternal.

I’ve actually learned alot about eternal perspective from Canon. I think I’ll write about that tomorrow. Good night for now…

Rabbit’s Embarrassing Moment

Okay… this is my absolute favorite of Canon’s Rabbit & Squirrel Stories. This one makes me laugh out loud at the end!! (If you want to read his others stories, click here :-)

Rabbit’s Embarrassing Moment

Rabbit and Squirrel are hanging out in rabbit’s burrow.

Rabbit: Squirrel, you want to have a jumping contest?
Squirrel: Uh, what kind? Up or across?
Rabbit: Up. And you can’t back out of the contest now.
Squirrel: Oh come on!

Squirrel jumps up and goes about half way to the ceiling (about 1 ½ feet up in the air).

Rabbit (laughing): Is that all you got?

Rabbit jumps up, hits his head on the ceiling and face-plants himself into the dirt below.

Rabbit (with his head in the dirt): Hey, who turned out the lights?
Squirrel: Um, actually you just face-planted yourself in the dirt.
Rabbit (thinking, I’m way too good of a jumper to do that…): No, really squirrel. Turn back on the lights.
Squirrel: Okay rabbit, here I go!

And squirrel grabs rabbit’s tail and pulls him out of the dirt.

Squirrel (while pointing to the rabbit-sized hole in the dirt): There’s proof that you face-planted yourself into the dirt.
Rabbit: Oh. Can I try again?
Squirrel: Nope.
Rabbit: Well, I’m used to jumping outside.
Squirrel: Well next time, we can have the contest at my house, and you can knock yourself out when you face-plant into my TREE!
Rabbit: Ugh.

Gifts

I think one of the benefits of walking through dark times is that laughter becomes much more precious. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures… a gift straight from God Himself. Simple pleasures are such a contrast to grief and sadness. When I experience one of these moments, I feel like my eyes become razor-sharp… absorbing every detail, so as not to miss a second of God’s gift.

Free-spirited Kate creates many of these moments for me. To watch her swing is to watch joy personified!! But I experience the same pleasure when I see Canon devouring a book or hear Anne singing (especially when I hear Anne singing…)

All of this reminds me of a book that I haven’t read… but I hear about constantly… One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

I was just resting with Kate, turning these ideas over in my head. I came downstairs to write this post, and the doorbell rang. It was a man delivering a huge fruit basket from someone in our church… The note read, “You have been in our prayers all year-long.” I then opened my email and found a note from a friend wanting to bring a herb pot made for me by the ladies in my old bible study. She said she was including a copy of One Thousand Gifts. Maybe I should read it :)