Monday, April 30, 2012

Capturing the Blessing

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him."  Psalm 127:3

Wesley is a joy and a delight and truly one of God's greatest blessings to our family.  But pictures do not do him justice.  He rarely grants us the privilege of adequately catching a special moment on camera.

So what a joy it was to me to receive this picture from Katie, a dear friend who so beautifully captured our celebration of Wesley's birthday.

This is the Wesley that we know and love - the Wesley whose smile and laughter and enthusiasm have filled our home with joy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

We All Need God

I recently watched this video where Ryan Pittman, a young man with Down Syndrome, shares his testimony of the work that Jesus has done in his life.  As I listened to his words, I was so encouraged to see a man who loves his Savior and has a heart to share the gospel with others.

And Ryan is right.  "God made all of us different.  But he also made us all the same.  We all need God."

His testimony is about two minutes long.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Lonely Road to Great Gain

A few weeks ago, the lyrics of an old song by Green Day randomly flitted through my mind, and ever since then I have regularly found myself humming the song and reflecting on the words.

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
When the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one who walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I walk alone

It's true.  The road that I walk is lonely.  I rush from school to therapy to school to doctor's appointments to another hurried drive-thru lunch to late naps as usual to rushing around to pick up the house/feed the baby/figure out dinner plans/prepare for the onslaught when nap time is over to helping boys survive until Daddy gets home while one desperately wants the attention that the other one's sensory needs require.

It is a difficult thing to go to events as a family, since Wesley struggles in groups.  So instead of enjoying spending time with friends, one of us always ends up caring for him, alone, and leaving discouraged, wishing we had just stayed home.

I rarely talk to my friends any more, as time is a precious commodity around here.  A few extra moments are hard to find.  And anyway, it seems that our lives reached the T in the road and mine went one way while theirs went the other.  Some days I honestly don't know how it's possible to maintain friendships with those outside of the world of disability.  Mine is a world that I cannot escape, so unless others press to get in and join me for a while, time goes by and relationships fade.

But thank God, I don't walk alone!  Jesus has found me.  He has saved me.  He has redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with steadfast love and mercy.  He promises to never leave me or forsake me.

Sometimes the way God leads us is through the sea and His path for us is through the great waters.  During times like this, His footprints are often unseen. (Psalm 77:19)  But even though I am walking through the difficult waters, seemingly alone with no footprints to follow, this I know to be true:  He is with me.

"But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:  'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior....You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.'"  Isaiah 43:2-4

And though I don't see His footprints to know where He is leading me, I am seeing more and more that He is not leading me to a place but to a person...Himself.

Walking the lonely road gives me the opportunity to count all things as loss to gain Christ.

(S)uffering is nothing more than the taking away of bad things or good things that the world offers for our enjoyment—reputation, esteem among peers, job, money, spouse, sexual life, children, friends, health, strength, sight, hearing, success, etc. When these things are taken away (by force or by circumstance or by choice), we suffer. But if we have followed Paul and the teaching of Jesus and have already counted them as loss for the surpassing value of gaining Christ, then we are prepared to suffer.

If when you become a Christian you write a big red “LOSS” across all the things in the world except Christ, then when Christ calls you to forfeit some of those things, it is not strange or unexpected. The pain and the sorrow may be great. The tears may be many, as they were for Jesus in Gethsemane. But we will be prepared. We will know that the value of Christ surpasses all the things the world can offer and that in losing them we gain more of Christ. 

John Piper, Called to Suffer and Rejoice: That We Might Gain Christ, August 23, 1992.

Friday, April 20, 2012

While the Cat Is Away...

What do we do while the big brothers are away at school?  Why, we play of course!

We pretend I can stand up.

We give each other big smiles.

We work on sitting up.

We have lots and lots of tummy time.

Mommy takes tons of pictures.

Mommy tells me she's blessed to have such special time with me each morning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wesley's Announcement


Wesley is pleased to announce that, according to, the winner of the book Just the Way I Am:  God's Good Design in Disability is Becky!  He hopes that the Lord uses this book to bless your family just as it has ours.

Becky, please email me your info so I can send it to you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Giveaway!

About a year after Wesley was born, Mike brought home a newly printed and beautiful gift for our family.  The words on the front cover drew me in, and I didn't set the book down until my teary eyes had read every single heart-gripping and soul-lifting word.  As I closed the book, I thanked God for Krista Horning and for the work that He has done in her heart that she could write a book so filled with the truth that has brought her comfort and hope throughout her life.

I have read her book Just the Way I Am:  God's Good Design in Disability countless times since then, and each time I am reminded of God's promises that He loves Wesley, has sovereignly ordained all of his days, has a perfect plan for his life, and has given His own Son to save Wesley that one day Wesley might enjoy him forever in heaven.

I love this book so very much that I would love to share a copy of this book with one of my readers.  To participate in this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me why you would like a copy.  (Everyone is welcome to participate - not just those with close ties to disability.)  I will select a winner on Tuesday.

Here is an endorsement for the book from John Piper, Krista Horning's pastor:

For the people in this book, the sovereignty and goodness of God have become a sanctuary for the soul in a life they did not expect to live. When they affirm the goodness and wisdom of God in creating them for short-term disability and eternal super-ability, they do not do so without tears. There is no glib trifling with pain. They are learning the paradox of ‘sorrowful yet always rejoicing.’ They are learning how to be brought low and how to abound.

They believe that in this fallen age, God’s loved ones groan along with the whole creation, waiting for the fullness of adoption, the redemption of their bodies. They find more hope in God’s unsearchable wisdom and power and purpose than in the vagaries of natural processes or the assaults of Satan. They believe that God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for their complete renewal – spiritually and physically. This healing is as sure as Jesus is precious – infinitely precious. It is only a matter of time, a vapor’s breath, and they will be whole. Because of the grace of God, these lives and this book exist for the glory of God.

And for those of you who don't win, I highly recommend purchasing a copy of this wonderful book.  You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Big Day

It is official.  Wesley is a big boy now.  On Monday, fighting back tears, I helped Wesley step onto his bus for the first time and buckled him up.  Those tears that were so close to the surface were impossible to fight back when Wesley looked deep into my eyes, realized that I was leaving him, and started crying out in distress.  I kissed him, told him that I loved him, and then turned away from him with tears running down my cheeks as I stepped back off of the bus.  The kind bus driver reassured me that the first day is always the hardest, and that she was sure Wesley would do just fine.  Then she pulled away.

Fifteen minutes later, Wesley's teacher called me to say that he stopped crying after the bus drove away and was happy when he arrived at school.  After his teacher helped him walk off the bus, he wore his backpack and walked all the way to his class on his own.  When he arrived, after taking off his jacket and putting his snack away, he sat down at the table to build with legos and do a puzzle all by himself.

According to his teacher, Wesley really enjoyed circle time and especially loved the music.

He enjoyed following along using the class schedule.

When they broke out into work sessions, Wesley's teacher informed me that he surprised her with how much he really does know.  Wesley matched pictures of animals in a field of six, matched paper colored apples in a field of six, and understood and followed instructions when she asked him to hand her pictures of animals in a field of three.  Way to go Wesley!!!
When I stepped onto the bus after school to get Wesley, I was greeted with a big smile.  He happily stepped off of the bus with me and came inside.  No sooner had we walked in the front door than he started pulling on his sweatshirt, looked me in the eye, and said "off"!  Oh what a proud mama I was.  I took that sweatshirt off just as fast as I could while praising my boy for telling me what he wanted!  He then sat in my lap, hugging me and sucking his thumb for about five minutes before jumping up and running off to play.

All in all, Wesley's teacher says that he is adjusting spectacularly well to school, and that he loves being there. She continues to be surprised at how much he knows and understands. And best of all, he now looks forward to seeing the bus pull up each morning in anticipation of another fun day at school.

I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed my dear Wesley with such a wonderful experience at school!  I couldn't have asked for more.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Matching Memories

When Zach was born, a dear friend gave me the cutest little outfit for him.  Little did I know at the time that I would have the opportunity to dress two more little boys in green and blue snowflakes.  Oh how I love all three of my little marshmallow snowmen.

Liam - 4 months

Wesley - 5 months

Zach - 3 months

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Three Years

Dear Wesley,

Today is a special day...your third birthday.  Today we celebrate you and the gift that you are to us.  Your Daddy and I are so proud of you, and now that you are all tucked into bed, we sit here looking at pictures of you and talking about all of those little things that make you the you we love so much.

This morning your big brother Zach sat down with you to teach that you are three years old now.  It was so precious to watch you concentrate intensely as he showed you how to hold up three fingers and then try your very best to imitate him.  You loved putting three candles into your playdoh cake, counting them with me, and then clapping as we sang Happy Birthday to you.

Several hours later, you moved me to tears when, for the first time, you blew out the candles on your cupcakes.  Just this past Thursday you learned how to blow bubbles, but I knew that to blow out a candle, you would have to generalize this skill.  Two days was a very short amount of time in which to do this.

We lit the candles, sang Happy Birthday to you, and then encouraged you to blow them out. The cheering that erupted in the room when you blew out that first candle is a moment I will always treasure in my heart.  As one of my friends said, "to see him blow out his 'three' candle just gave me so much joy!  I feel like I witnessed something really cool!"  And she did.  We all witnessed something really cool.  You did it, and we are so very proud of you.

Then, while everyone else ate their cupcakes, you kept blowing on yours, despite the fact that the candle had been removed.  You had so much fun with it that your Daddy and I decided to light a candle in a cupcake again this evening.  After singing Happy Birthday to you again, we re-lit that candle for you to blow out so many times that we burned through the entire wick.  You were so cute as you became excited each time as if you had never blown out a candle before.  That candle was definitely the highlight of your special day.

Another very special part of your birthday was watching you with your presents.  Even this last Christmas you were very uninterested in presents or the toys in them.  But as we anticipated today, your Daddy and I came up with multiple toys that we thought you would like and enjoy playing with.  You didn't much care for opening your presents, but later when we got you up from your nap, we had all of your new toys set up in the living room.  You were thrilled. You ran straight in to them and started playing with them right away.  Just seeing how much you have grown in learning how to play with toys in an age appropriate manner and even choosing to do so of your own accord touched my heart.

I know that today is your day, but today has also been a very special day for me.  As I have watched you today and have seen how much you enjoyed your day, my heart has filled to overflowing with joy and thankfulness to God.  He is doing a wonderful work in you, my sweet boy.

I love you so very much, my precious son, and I thank God for every moment of the past three years.  You are a wonderful gift from God to our family.

Happy third birthday, Wesley!