Happy 2014!

What a blessed year 2013 was – not because of anything wonderful or terrible – just because of God’s grace to our family.

Everyone seems to have grown so much in the last year.

  • Eric’s faithfulness in prayer has increased. He’s been amazed at God’s consistent work through his humble prayers.
  • I finished my goal of blogging through the Bible. I still can’t believe I was able to write 365 straight posts. You can read what I learned from the endeavor here.
  • Canon (11) just grew. Man, he’s big.
  • Anne (9) has shown immense improvement – both physically and mentally. Her seizures are under control, she can walk with a walker and she is able to focus for longer periods of time.
  • Kate (7) has grown up in every way. She’s responsible and kind-hearted. I’m so thankful for God’s work in Kate this year.

God is always faithful to work in all of us! We are most thankful for 2013 and look forward to God’s adventures for 2014!

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God’s Amazing Answer to Prayer!!!

Well friends… those of you who have prayed so faithfully and those of you who have prayed once or those of you who just think of Anne occasionally… today is the today to rejoice and thank God for his amazing and wonderful gifts!!

I’m so excited. Can you tell I’m excited??!!!

Anne is now walking with a walker, independently. She can propel and steer the walker independently. She has never been able to propel any assistive walking device by herself before last week. I can’t emphasize how amazing this is… Just watch :)

(Note: Anne’s Physical Therapist is holding Anne’s gait belt which is around her waist for safety only. She is not assisting Anne. Anne is walking, balancing, propelling and steering all on her own!)

In this 2nd video, Anne’s walking improves as she walks past a group of her peers… just watch how proud she looks :)

Here’s a cool twist to this amazing answer to prayer. Three years ago, when Anne was discharged from CHOA’s Day Rehab program, I asked the PT if Anne was ready to try walking with a walker. Her truthful answer of “No,” was very discouraging at the time. Wouldn’t you know that this very same PT accepted a position within the school system last year. And on her first day of work, she walked into Anne’s class and Anne recognized her. Anne, her former patient from Day Rehab, was her first patient in the school system. And it was this same PT (who told me, “No,” to a walker three years ago) who worked to find the perfect walker for Anne. This is Lavonda, Anne’s PT, walking with her today. I am so grateful for her expertise!!

Anne’s victory

Anne won!

No, seriously, she won, for real. The family went bowling, and she beat us all, badly, fair and square.

Bowling with Anne

Bowling with Anne

Now, it’s true that we are all terrible bowlers, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that Anne legitimately beat all of us.

Anne was excited that she won, but I think she found more joy in just being… She loved the sounds of the bowling alley, she anticipated her every turn. She loved the ceremony of walking up to the lane and pushing her ball down the slide. She loved watching us cheer when her straight and true ball knocked down pin after pin. She loved the hugs. She loved the love.

Anne is free to enjoy the deeper layers of life. Once again, God uses Anne to reveal His joy!

 

Open Letter Challenge

My friend, Josh, wrote a post on his blog that literally changed my life. His post: “An Open Letter to You from the Rest of World” is what inspired me to blog through the Bible in a year (and not quit in January)!

So now, he’s sponsoring a contest to encourage people to respond to his inspirational “Letter from the Rest of the World.” So I figured I’d give it a go… especially since I struggle daily with the tension between working to achieve my dreams and my home-bound responsibilities to care for Anne (my disabled daughter).

As I live in this constant tension, I’ve come to the realization that the best way to make an impact for good is not necessarily to write the next NY Times bestseller, but to surrender to the servant’s call of caring for Anne.

So here’s my response to “the rest of the world.” Let me know what you think!

Hi world!

It’s me…that skinny, freckle-faced girl with red hair and glasses. Yep… just me :)

Supposedly, I have something to offer you, but I feel much too small to offer your big-ole-self anything of significance…

You see, I spend my days taking care of my daughter who has a severe brain injury. What could I possibly offer you?

Every morning, as I walk into her room, she looks at me and asks, “Where are we going today, Mama?” And I say, “We are going to school,” but I think, “She wants me to show her the world.”

Then I carry her to the bathroom, and she sits and I sit, and we wait for her broken body to do what it has to do. And we wait, and she asks, “What are we doing today, Mama?” And I say, “Today’s a therapy day,” but I think, “We are going to persevere and never give up.”

And then I dress her and brush her teeth and put on her braces that straighten her crooked feet – so that she can stand. And as she stands, she stretches and lifts her one good hand to the sky – as if she might really touch it. And she looks up at me, and she smiles.

You might consider her lowly, broken and burdensome. But everyday I watch her bring light, beauty and grace to others.

Somehow she is able to fly in her brokenness. She not only flies, she soars, and she brings me along with her. She helps me laugh. She helps me love.

So this is what I offer to you, world…

Joy in the midst of hardship…

Rest in the midst of chaos,

And a Brokenness that breeds Strength.

I also offer you my disabled daughter, because she is priceless. I get to take care of her. And I am so grateful.

So if you happen to see us out and about, be sure to say, “Hi,” because my little girl gives the best hugs!

With Sincerity and Gratitude,

Me

Preparing for school

Our summer is winding down. Anne goes back to school next Wednesday (8/7)!

Anne responded so well to serial casting that she only had to have three weeks of casts instead of six, so she will be able to go to school cast-free (serial casting is a technique that increases the range of motion in Anne’s ankle).

This is the first summer that Anne seems brighter and sharper at the end compared to the beginning. Her amazing use of language keeps us in stitches. She uses her words in such a clever and witty way.

The other day, Kate was working through a book of riddles, and Anne was able to figure out riddles which stumped Kate. Anne has excellent reasoning ability. She’s still so smart.

Her challenges are her short attention span, impulsivity and cortical visual impairment (CVI). (CVI is a broad term for visual impairment caused by a problem with the brain, rather than with the eyes.) These are all huge obstacles which Anne must overcome in order to read.

Fluent Reading and Fluid Walking. These are our two dream goals for Anne. These goals are so long-term, I feel like there are a hundred short-term goals to be met to get there. But we’ll keep plugging along… little step by little step.

God continues to supply exactly what we need precisely when we need it. Never less, and never more. We pray for the faith to trust him in the moment and leave the future in his hands. In the meantime, God uses Anne to give us so much joy! We are so grateful for the gift of her life!!

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 :)

Milestones

A friend kindly wrote to me today… “Thinking of you this week.”

I had to stop and think about what she could mean… And then I remembered, “Ahhh. Saturday is the day.”

Yes, Saturday will mark three years since Anne’s accident. April 13th becomes easier with each passing year. The pain of losing Anne becomes more dull, and the joy of gaining Anne becomes more evident. God is good!

I’m actually hostessing a baby shower on April 13th. I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than surrounded by friends celebrating a new life. God’s mercies are new every morning!

And while we’re on the subject of milestones, I just published my 100th post on my bible:365 blog. If I taught kindergarten, I would do something fun like… string together 100 paperclips or eat 100 M&M’s (ugh). But I’m not a kindergarten teacher, so I just had a cookie ;)

Happy 100 posts to me! And more importantly… Happy 3 years of enjoying our new Anne!

Hangin' with the boys

Hangin’ with the boys

Face painting with Canon, Kate and cousin Isabella!

Face painting with Canon, Kate and cousin Isabella!

A picnic in the front yard!

A picnic in the front yard!

We love our Anne!

We love our Anne!

A more meaningful Easter

Our family wheeled Anne through the crowded sanctuary. We hadn’t gotten there as early as we had planned. Our usual spot was taken over by the crowds on Easter. We were forced to the front. As we filled the empty chairs, Anne squealed, “Miss Debbie! Miss Debbie!”

Other than family, Miss Debbie is one of the few constants in Anne’s life. Their relationship is the same as it was before the accident when Anne was in her 3-year-old Sunday school class. We haven’t seen Miss Debbie in months. But God let us find her today. Continue reading

Anne is amazing :)

Sometimes I look at Anne and I’m struck by the magnitude of the brain damage. She’s just so impaired in so many ways. But then other times, Anne amazes us…

Yesterday, Anne stood up from her chair at the dinner table all by herself. That was amazing. Then I put her on the sofa and asked her to stand up, and she did it! The whole family was amazed!!

Anne said this morning… “I want a dog. And I think we should name her “Grace” because I bring Grace to other people and my name means “Grace.” That was pretty amazing.

But what she did last night was really amazing…When Eric puts Anne to bed, he always reads to her from the children’s bible, “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” In fact, Eric reads the same bible to Canon and Kate when he puts them to bed. And at times, Anne is able to connect to the stories on a deeper level than Canon and Kate.

Eric was reading a story (that he had never read to Anne) from the New Testament about the field of great price. Remember the story? A man learns that there is treasure in a field, so he sells everything he owns in order to pay the price for the field. In the middle of the story, there was a question: “What is God’s Treasure?” Anne immediately piped up, and said, “God’s children.” Eric, amazed, continued to read the next line of the story…”God’s children are God’s treasure.” And then Anne offered, “The price God paid for his treasure was his Son’s life.”

God seems to have given Anne a special ability to understand his Word. We think that’s… amazing!

Lost December

I’m just tired of being sad. This December, I sorta went into an apathetic shell. Thinking back, I think I was just protecting myself from the grief that comes around the holidays. But that shell just got sandblasted. I just need to learn that it is okay to be sad during December.

In 30 short minutes, a new year will be here, and I feel a bit sad. But I’ll say that sadness is a notch better than apathetic, because at least I’m feeling something :-)

But don’t worry. God is here. He always is.

May Anne continue to make progress in 2013! And here is my list of “gratefuls” for 2012.

Key Lime Pie
Good neighbors
Anne’s crooked smile
Eric’s job
Canon’s enthusiasm
Special time with Kate
Therasuit Therapy
Erin and Stacy at church
French Horns… (I love the melancholy tone of a french horn)
Late night movie watching with Eric
My Wednesday bible study group
Mrs. Bush (Anne’s para-pro)
my new iPhone

and finally… the story of Joseph (from the Bible).

God is good. Happy New Year.