Anne’s Four Year Milestone

Today marks 4 years since the accident. On April 13, 2010, Anne woke up as a healthy, able-bodied, 5-year-old child. At noon, she was almost killed in an automobile accident.

Every day since then is a gift for which we are profoundly thankful.

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Lately I’ve been tweeting some of Anne’s more pithy sayings. Here are a few of my favorite tweets:

Anne finished up her second week of Intensive TheraSuit therapy on Friday. The end of the second week is definitely the most difficult. Here is a video of her walking with a cane late in the day on Friday. Her legs look like noodles. She is SO tired!

We are so thankful for our precious Anne and we can’t wait to see what incredible things God does with her life!!!!!

 

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The Power of Words

Lately I’ve been finding myself especially grateful for Anne’s words.

A friend of mine graciously stayed with our kids recently so Eric and I could go out to celebrate my birthday (yes, Happy Birthday to me :). When we got home, my friend said, “I had no idea Anne talked herself to sleep!” It’s true. I actually have never considered how strange this is!

Sometimes she talks to Kate; sometimes she talks to herself, but every night she giggles and sighs and in the quiet darkness, she is lulled to sleep by the sound of her own voice. It reminds me that her voice is a gift.

It was the first part of her brain to switch back “on” after the accident. She barely had the ability to move her right index finger, but she could talk. Her eyes were fixed, un-moving, but she could talk. Even now, her vocabulary, sentence structure, reasoning and conversation skills are her strength and she daily uses this gift to bless others.

Lately, Anne has been even more discouraged about her physical disability. She wants independence so badly. She also struggles with watching her independent family carry on their independent lives around her. She complains, “Why can’t I walk? I’m tired of this stupid brain injury. When will it go away, Mama? Why doesn’t anyone pay attention to me? Nobody loves me.”

I’m so grateful that Anne is able to communicate her deepest needs and longings to us. The beauty of Anne’s ability to utter words is that she is also able to absorb words. And she absorbs them deeply, so my answers to her, the words I speak to her, have power. So before I answer her, I pray. I need God’s words, not my words.

Anne. Listen to me. God has given you a gift. A very important gift. He has given you the gift of words. Everyday I watch you bring joy to others through your words. You will have to fight to overcome your brain injury for a very long time. But God uses your brain injury to bring joy to others. You are a treasure.

The word, “treasure,” was the word Anne needed to hear. She repeats it daily. “I am a treasure, mama. God thinks I’m treasure.” 

Words. They are so important. Lately, I’ve been praying for God to show me how to use my words more effectively for Him. I recently shared Anne’s story with Kat Lee, the founder of the Inspired to Action podcast. If you’ve never heard me talk about the gory details of the accident, I share that story along with how God’s presence was so palpable both during and after the accident. I also talk about Anne’s gift of words and ways to help moms of special needs kids. It’s so easy for me to be careless with my words! But I pray that my words in this podcast reflect God’s goodness and faithfulness.

The final stretch

This time last year, I hadn’t even thought of the idea to blog through the bible in a year. And here I am… in the final stretch! Today is my first post in the book of Revelation. In 21 short days, I’ll be finished!!

My family is excited about that :)

This endeavor has taken much more time and effort than I anticipated, but I’m grateful for the journey. Many times, as I sat in front of my computer, exhausted and void of coherent thought – God would fill me with the words I needed. I have seen His strength in my weakness this year. The show of His faithfulness to me has been a treasured gift.

So with only 20-something days left, I face my greatest challenge – to blog through BOTH the book of Revelation AND all of the minor prophets in under a month’s time. If you’re like me, I don’t spend much time in the minor prophets or contemplating the beast in Revelation!

But…I hope reading through these prophetic passages will make this Advent season more meaningful. And when I’m finished, I think I’ll sit, drink some hot cocoa and watch a movie… (while doing somersaults in my head :) Merry Christmas!

Desire & Determination

My last post was all about how I had been placing my hope in the wrong stuff… like Anne walking (for instance). Well, wouldn’t you know it – all of a sudden Anne has made a major improvement in her walking??!!! Just goes to show you that God really does love to give good gifts to his children!!

Yesterday, we gathered with Eric’s family for a casual Sunday afternoon get-together. Check out this video of her walking to Papa and Nana’s front door.

As I took this video on my phone, I thought to myself that her walking seemed especially good, but I wasn’t prepared for how Anne would surprise us throughout the day…

Papa rented a boat and we cruised around in the sunshine!

Anne & her Papa

Anne & her Papa

At one point, Anne was sitting on a bench – sort of away from everybody, and decided she wanted to be closer to her Aunt Krista, so she tried to stand up and walk.

Now, Anne struggles with the skill, “sit-to-stand.” We take this skill for granted, but for Anne, it’s very difficult… so as she tried to stand over and over again, she got herself crooked on her bench. She recognized this and scooted herself back to the middle of the bench with her legs straight in front of her. I almost fell out of my seat when I saw her do this. Again, something very simple, but very difficult for Anne. And then that little girl stood up and tried to walk by herself over to where her Aunt Krista was sitting. Thank goodness her sister, Kate, was there, because Anne would have fallen!

And that was our day. Watching Anne stand up and try to walk to one family member after another – on a moving boat!! We would always grab her by the hand so she wouldn’t fall – but I’ve never seen Anne with such determination!

This is a huge step forward for Anne. We’ve been praying that Anne would desire to put forth effort. Thank you God for hearing and answering our prayers!!! She is attempting to move in ways she never has before. We have to keep an extra close eye on her now, but we’ll take it!

Our new determined girl!

Our new determined girl!

200th post

Today, I published my 200th straight post on bible365blog.com I can’t believe I’ve made it this far!!

And the best part… I am only ONE DAY AWAY FROM FINISHING EZEKIEL. This is wonderful for my whole family, because they are sick and tired of me complaining about how difficult Ezekiel is!!

I think we might have to celebrate. It’s Friday after all. Maybe we’ll have ice cream for dinner. Yes. Mint Chocolate Chip… or maybe Cookies and Cream. No… Mint Chocolate Chip :)

TheraSuit:Year 2, Day 2

Anne has really struggled today.

I am sitting where Anne can’t see me, but I can hear her. I know she doesn’t feel well. She woke several times last night with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. She’s tired. But she’s persevering. Through tears she is relenting to the therapist’s commands. She’s had grit today. I’m proud of her.

I’ve been reading through Jeremiah as I write my daily bible365blog.com posts. Jeremiah complains a lot, and he has every right to! The people of Judah want to kill him because they hate his message of Judgment…but God is firm with him. In Jeremiah 15, after God rebuked Jeremiah for his complaint, God built him back up with a strong-as-rock promise:

And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.” (Jeremiah 15:20-21).

God works this way with us. It’s very similar to Anne’s therapy. The therapists ask her to do hard tasks – for her good. She complains, and they are firm – yet encouraging. She perseveres, and consequently – she is made stronger.

May we have the courage to persevere through God’s therapeutic work with us :)

The wisdom of Gandalf

Eric and I were watching The Hobbit tonight. My favorite parts of both the movies and Tolkien’s books are the scenes with the elves. The land, the respite, the wisdom, the peace. Every time the characters leave the elven city of Rivendell, I am sad. I long to stay.

Rivendell is the setting for our favorite scene from The Hobbit. Gandalf’s words resonated with both of us. I think because they echo the way of God’s Kingdom…

Sauron believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I’ve found that it’s the small things, the every day deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid. And he gives me courage.

In many ways, Anne gives us courage. Her simple smile. Her sweet laugh and quirky wit. They keep us going. And just as Galadriel assures Gandalf… we know we are not alone. God is our helper. He is our Rescuer. He upholds our very life!

Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4).

Anne won the race!

Each year, ACCA (the private school that all of our kids have attended at least once!) holds a Jog-A-Thon to raise funds and awareness for the school. The idea is simple… the kids solicit pledges/per lap and then try to run as many laps as possible in the 1.5 hour time frame. Each lap is 1/4 mile.

Last year, I pushed Anne in her jogger stroller. Everyone loves Anne, so she enjoyed all the people cheering for her as we ran. But I thought it was time to ramp it up a notch…

My goal for Anne was for me to help her walk 1 lap (which is 1/4 mile). It’s hard to put into words just how far this is for Anne. It’s significantly longer than she has ever walked before. So because the goal was so lofty, we started slow. We took lots of “sweet tea” breaks along the way. The kids cheered for her as they passed – Kate passed us 15 times!!! Three-quarters of the way through, Anne was so, so tired. I was tired too! (It’s tedious bending over to help Anne keep her balance…) But! Canon was there to encourage Anne to persevere :)  Anne never cried. Not. Once. Even though some steps seemed almost impossible, she had the best “can-do” attitude. The girl toughed it out, and after 45-long-minutes, she did it!!!!

Thanks to my friend Elizabeth Smith of Libbie Wicket for the great photos!

Anne at the finish line!!!

It felt like the whole school was cheering for Anne as she finished.

It was a family effort!

So, so proud of our sweet Anne!!!

Anne was so proud of her accomplishment. The whole family went out to celebrate, and Anne kept saying, “I won the race! But next year, I’m going to walk the whole lap by myself!!!” Now THAT is something I want to see!!!!