Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Blogger, Clay: "Just as our Savior's humble beginnings..."

So I have been wanting to write this post for months, talked about it, asked Clay about it, and today I got an email from him that said, "I was thinking a lot about this and here's what I wrote" here you have it.

Allow yourself for a moment to imagine what it would be like to be a child again.  Now imagine being born into a place where no one wanted you; to parents that would not, or could not take care of you.  Imagine Christmas with no family, no favorite Christmas food or treat, and no toys or gifts to unwrap (and no expectation of any).  Imagine no mother or father to tuck you in and read stories.  No sense of unbridled anticipation for the coming morning, probably not knowing it is any different than any other day.  Imagine hoping, praying that someday, someone would come to claim you as their own and take you home where you could celebrate Christmas like the “other kids”, want to be with you and love you.  So long as it is before you turn five.  Because if you reach that age without being rescued then you are no longer able to be loved claimed.  At that point you go to an institution where you are kept in a prison crib until you either go insane, or worse, you fail to thrive and you end up dying alone. 
This is the life for many kids like those represented by Reece’s Rainbow.  Kids born with Down syndrome, other special needs, or that are just “different” in many Eastern European countries, among others, are considered faux pax. Many are left to orphanages and institutions.  Some are loved while there, but many are mistreated, malnourished and left with little hope.  Their society shuns them and people turn their heads. Many of us also turn a blind eye or decide “not to think about it” as we see or hear of a beautiful child left unwanted. 
As we think of Christmas, most of us think of the season, the festivities, the décor, the music, maybe we read the Christmas story and set our eyes momentarily on the birth of our Savior.  I never really stopped to think too much about the setting, other than the what you see or hear in the brief reading of the “Nativity Story”, but Christ’s birth, apart from the fact that it was to his virgin mother, was miraculous in its own way.  Jesus was probably born somewhere, in a primitive shelter.  Mary and Joseph’s lives were completely turned upside down as they were on the run.  And Jesus would spend His early days as a refugee from a bloodthirsty and vindictive King.  Hardly the mood of our typical Christmas mornings.  Yet from those humble and precarious beginnings came a gift of unimaginable proportions.  A savior.  Our King.  One to deliver us from our wretchedness and selfish, sinful ways to adopt us forever into his Kingdom however undeserving we must be – and surely are. 
As we enter this time in celebration of the birth of our Savior, it is time to be His hands and feet and adopt those that are helpless, and hopeless as Christ has adopted us -  those that haven’t the luxury, or the memory, of a Christmas morning with family and gifts.   It is time to adopt what the world would refer to as “the least of these,” but what our Father surely proclaims as the greatest inhabitants of His Kingdom.  Adopt in the literal sense, or in the supportive sense through giving.  As in James 1:27, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” 
This year, before you buy another sweater, trinket or tie, consider a gift with eternal impact.  A gift that could forever change a child and his or her future family.  Reece’s Rainbow is a non-profit global Down syndrome adoption charity that our family has been supporting for a couple of years.  Fortunately there are number of families out there that would love nothing more than to take these kids home, however, unfortunately, the costs involved range from $20,000 - $40,000 for adoption, including travel, interpreters, legal, etc.  Take a minute to look at some of the profiles and the difference you could make.

This angel baby found the most incredible home!!!
And this is our little angel we are supporting this year...

Friday, November 25, 2011


I have had A LOT of time to think about Thanksgiving this week.  As I am sitting here in the hospital with Joy, and Tink is having Thanksgiving with the rest of my family, I am praying for a spirit filled with gratitude.  In case you missed it, I am incredibly sentimental, I like to document everything, and make a big deal out of birthdays and holidays, perhaps too big of a deal, but it is what it is and I am here with one baby and my other one is with my parents.
This week has sent so many emotions running through me showing me my imperfections and my ugly struggles.  I have seen my fear, my struggle with lack of control, my frustration because I want to be in 4 places at once, my inability to let the little things go (like one week/one day of the year), I could go on and on...BUT I have also seen my sweet family and friends come through again and I have seen how so many people spend the holidays in a way and a place thankfully foreign to me.
   I am sitting here thinking of ways to welcome Christmas and teach the babies about the meaning behind it all... and ways to really soak up December. Yes, I actually started a list of all we can do together when we get home. But in the back of my mind there is such a sad and ugly truth as I look around.  Many of the rooms around us are occupied with children.  Thats it, just the child.  They are here alone in the hospital...thats unthinkable to most of us.  I also recognize some of the same patients we saw here back in February and March, again I can't even let myself think about what that is like...sitting here for 6 days will do a number on you, so months and months with no certain end in sight, I can't really even grasp that feeling.
When I start to get down or sad about not seeing Tink on Thanksgiving, or being in a hospital with my baby who is still sick, if I just glance out our window into the dark rooms to my right, our blessings are absolutely clear.  Clay and I have asked if we could go see some of these babies who are here on their own, but its not allowed... I am sorry this feels like a gloomy post, its really not intended to on your loved ones, and give thanks for ALL of our blessings... I am thankful to be able to be here even if its the third time in 2011, I am thankful for the confidence in the care my babies receive here, thankful for the nurses who love on my baby, thankful that Clays mom sounds/or at least says she's on the mend, thankful that my parents have tink and I know she is perfectly happy, even though I think they may want to keep her, thankful that my mom slept on the couch with one scared Daisy-hound 2 nights in a row because it was storming, these are all such blessings to Clay and me.
 Clay sent me this yesterday and I heard it on the radio later, I realize it is a popular verse for Thanksgiving, but it really spoke to me this Thanksgiving in particular.

Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Yep he's a Dr. now he has it all down...
To be honest with you, Murphy has made a little nest in his bed, He has about 100 pillows and he loves his blankets, his nurses even know not to mess with the nest...I have to be so fast when I change the sheets, other than that he doesn't complain much

More presents!

Uncle Sweet Pea, Sarah and Tink made cookies for Joy Bucket, I wish I could add sound to this picture, in his typical pigeon fashion, "nom nom nom nom nom"

I have more pictures to post, once I get my hands on the other camera...I can't wait to see tink's version of the day. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Silver Lining...

So, yes it is obvious in certain situations even though I know better,  I panic.  Both of my kiddos have the flu and as of last night Madden's has turned into pneumonia. We are supposed to "watch them like hawks" as Madden is asthmatic and well its just not fun with 2 little ones.
The thing about this is the coughing,wheezing, constantly wanting to go night night, all topped of with a HUGE dose of fever, and as anyone who knows me knows, I. don't. do. fever.
104+ = panic...and we are on day three of this madness.
So, last night Clay had to sleep with Madden and I chose the little vampire I birthed, Joy Buckets.  We both emerged from our designated rooms this morning, more tired than when we parted ways last night....gave each other the morning report, glad we were all still in tact and started racing around to get ready for our 200th doctors visit...(as an aside here I have to let you know that I have not had the shot and neither has my mother).  My mom has fearlessly spent 2 solid days in the doctor's office and loved on both the patients regardless of the walking petri dish we have become.
So, anyway back to this we were walking around in our fog that has become the norm-Clay says," you know, what the silver lining is in all of this", I stood there and didn't even answer waiting for the punch line (oh, I forgot to add that Murph decided to throw up all over me last night) anyway still waiting for the joke.
Clay looks at me and says, "Madden doesn't seem to notice she's been "sucker" (her pacifier that she has had for 2 1/2 years) free for 3 days and I think that will be the end of it."
  At first I thought, are you kidding me?  Then I thought to myself, good grief does this guy ever stop?  What in the world makes his brain function like this (and at this time of day-it must be deliriousness set in)... but then I realized he was so right-he totally gets the idea of "giving thanks in all things"  he understands Eucharisto!  I am just going to sit back and try to take lessons...I remember when we spent a week in Le Bohneur in February and he again said, you know "what the silver lining is in all of this, we didn't have to think about what to do for dinner and we got to spend a whole week together."  ( I agree on the sucker issue, but this might be pushing it, at least a little bit.)
But I will say that other than being worried about my two little ones, and a bit sad about all the fun thanksgiving feasts and celebrations they are missing, I am beyond thankful that I am sitting here with one beside me and one in the next chair, watching the lion king and trying to convince them to get up enough nerve to have some fruit punch.  I will be even more thankful if no one throws up fruit punch on me later :)
Colossians 3:15
"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts... And always be thankful."

Do you think she's excited about her princes party?

Seriously?  I get to wear this in the car???

Joy buckets at the circus....

I think I fit in just fine here, momma.

A little hesitant about the horse, but she finally came around, she comes by it honestly.

So, Pop what do you think? 

Touchdown, TIIIIIgers (thats one very long i)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thank you thank you thank you!

"Do not withhold and good thing from those who deserve it when it is in your power to help them."  Proverbs 3:27

I borrowed this from a site near and dear to our hearts I will post more on them later...
For now-

1.  Harwood's annual beer tasting was two weeks ago.  I can't really explain to people who aren't in our shoes what its like to see and feel the support of our friends and family.  It means the world to us.  We want to push Harwood to its maximum capacity.  Our precious friends and family, were there for our family.  They showed up in a major way with coming to the party and donations.  Our hearts are really filled with gratitude because of the way you support our joy.  Thank you, thank you from the very bottom of our hearts.  AND big news as of this morning Clay will be serving on the Harwood board this year we are so excited he will be part of such a great organization, this gem has truly served our children well!

2.  Halloween, so I might not love fall but I will never forget the memories of the joy buckets and Halloween this year.  I also had no idea how absolutely exhausting Halloween can be.  2 school parties, family for dinner and smores 2 rounds of trick or treating and 2 exhausted babies.  (Also a bit emotional to see tink in the bunny costume that my mom made for me when I was her age-ughhh)

I could have taken this same picture 15 years ago.  This is at the Harwood Fundraiser, sweet friends supporting our Joy
I really don't have a final count on how many hats my dad bought, but Sweet Pea particularly loves his because it fit his large head with no problem-ha!  Let me know if you want one!

Halloween before school, poor Murphy wanted to be a rockstar he settled for a football player, and well tink, was in full form.

He gives lessons too sometimes, you should see him try to show us exactly how to play!

Tink cheers Go TIgers (the I is very important) 

Tink's Halloween parade...such fun

Tink's class, that poor giraffe is the ONLY boy!

About to decorate his pumpkin!
He sees CC coming up to the door-I wish I could have captured his dance with this!
So sweet, uncle sweet pea and sarrraaaaahhh were saints on Halloween

Being a hoarder presents all kinds of obstacles, Halloween is particularly difficult when your bucket gets heavy yet YOU CANT TAKE YOUR HANDS OR EYES off of it....
A lion!  No, its just buckley...more like a cowardly lion...poor fellow cries like a baby when uncle sweet peas not around.

I think she would live in her costume

Murphy does not like for Buckley to be upset, so he camped out beside his pal to check on him.

Smores....and still wearing her costume, she asked me today what "time is trick or treating"  wow it may be a long year.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The problem with pumpkins...

Its no secret I am not a "fall" person...mainly because winter is on its way, but mostly because I would love to have Summer year round, and quite frankly I don't like coats, or anything but flip flops.  Despite my dislike, Fall is here and for the past couple of years I have thought that Murphy was on the same page about fall.  He has showed some early signs of disliking the good ole pumpkin patch, which I can totally understand.  Who really wants to get dressed to go sit by something big and orange in the dirt?  Really, why is this such the tradition around here...seems like everyone does the token trip to the pumpkin patch even though its 88 degrees outside and its really weird to be sitting in a patch of vegetables...

Or so I thought, turns out the poor guy has been absolutely starving every time we have attempted this ritual!  The crying and whining...not about pumpkins at all, not about Tink hamming it up, its all about a grilled cheese, good grief just feed the boy and then he will take all the pumpkin pics you want!
On another note, we start FALL break this week- and we are spending it at the most magical place on earth, in Germantown, ha!  We won't be at Disney or the beach, we will be soaking up each other/relaxing right here at home (ha ha Im not sure where would have to go to relax)!
  How will I entertain these 2 non-stop on the go kiddos for an entire week?  Feel free to stop reading at this point and pray for a great week and lots of patience to go around.  Don't get me wrong I do have 2 joy buckets and lots of things on the agenda but I feel like I should be training for some sort of triathlon or something to keep up lately!  I am looking forward to getting to do the things that we usually are too "busy" to do, so wish us luck the countdown has begun!
Anyway, we are going to Harwood's annual fundraiser friday night and I know I don't have to mention for the 1,525,406,798th time what a gift Harwood has been to all of us...but I will anyway :)  So if you are free friday night that's where we will be (assuming I make it through this week :)
The kids came home with this sweet prayer that I thought I would share from their first trip to the pumpkin patch with school...I hope you enjoy it as much as I did-it might just be the start to a whole new perspective on Fall, I am not banking on it though-I'll take whiney kids in the pool over the pumpkin patch any day!

"The Pumpkin Prayer"
Dear God,
Open my mind so I can learn more about you (take the top off the pumkpin)
Take away my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do (clean out the inside)
Open my eyes so your love I will see (cut eyes for the pumpkin)
I'm sorry for turning up my nose to all you have given me (cut a nose in the shape of the cross)
Open my ears so your word I will hear (Cut ears in the shape of a Bible)
Open my mouth so I can tell others you are near (cut mouth in the shape of a fish)
let your light shine in all I say and do, amen. (place a candle inside)

"Let your light shine before all men that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

This is what they have sitting outside the Les Passes Stock exchange...melt my heart-go shop!!

Total Tink
OK so Mom acting like a moose gets my mind off it for a second...

hello does anyone have anything I can eat?

And there you have it
our new precious friend james!
Oh how we love to dance around here...
Meet Thomas, he lives in our kitchen, CC brought him to live with us.  We have discovered she is oddly obsessed with all things pumpkin, the bumpier the better...bizarre.  But we do love Thomas!