Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, to have a friend like this...

It has been three and a half years since my son, Zach, was born. October 14, 2008 to be exact. I will never forget the day, where I was standing, and what I felt when I heard the words "I have reason to believe your son might have Down Syndrome." I was in complete shock and remember feeling like the hospital room just closed in on me. I remember the numbness I felt as people came to the hospital to visit...I would find myself lost in conversation one minute and crying the next as I thought "This is real. This is my life now. I have a child with Down Syndrome." I remember the feelings of sadness, grief, loss and at moments, despair. Could I handle this? This kind of thing happened to really strong people...not people like me! I remember Phillip and I weeping and voicing our prayers out loud to the Lord while kneeling by our couch when we came home from the hospital. I remember wondering how long it would take before I could say the words "Down Syndrome" and not cry. I wondered if that day would ever come.

Now here I am three and a half years later. I just got home from having dinner with my dear friend, Pam Sharp. A book came out this year by Kelle Hampton, a blogger/photographer/writer who had a child with Down Syndrome a couple years ago. Her book, "Bloom", shares her story of having her life turned around by the birth of her sweet girl, Nella. I borrowed the book from a friend and read it one day while on a weekend trip with Phillip a few weeks ago. My friend, Pam, also read the book recently, because her daughter , Sammi, started following Kelle's blog a couple years ago and bought a copy of the book when it came out.Pam called me a week ago after reading the book and said she wanted to go out with me and talk about the book. She wondered if she had been a good friend to me during the time when I had Zach. Did I receive the kind of support Kelle received? She had some questions she wanted to ask me and wanted us to discuss the book together.

Let me just say, it meant the world to me that Pam reached out in this way and wanted to talk to me about this. She cared enough to ask the questions. In fact, when we got together tonight, she had a list of questions for me. I felt so loved tonight as I talked and answered her questions. She cared enough to wonder how I felt then, when Zach was born, and then to ask how I felt now. The funny thing is Pam wondered if she had been a good friend to me...and yet she is someone who stands out in my mind as one who has gone the extra mile to care for me and to care for my family over these past three and a half years. She spent a year or more, before she had some changes in her schedule, spending time with Zach on a weekly basis, because she "did not want Zach to grow up and not know who she was." I am blessed to have a friend like this!

I cried some tonight with Pam as I shared stories with her. I cried some as I remembered some of the feelings I had years ago,and some of the feelings I have felt even this year. To have someone care enough to take the time to ask, and to take the time to listen...that is a real friend.

It's funny- sometimes you don't even know what you need until a friend as perceptive as Pam, takes the time to ask the right questions. Just the fact that she read the book and then wanted to talk to me about it...I am not sure I can put into words how deeply that touched me.

On the way home tonight, the Scripture "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15) came to mind. That is what Pam did with me tonight. She listened well, she loved well, and she reminded me tonight of how blessed I am to have a friend like her. Thank you , Pam.

And Zach, I am also reminded tonight of how you have changed me. Your precious life, your sweet laugh, the way it takes you a little longer to accomplish so much of what I used to take for granted, YOU are a joy.

Thank you, God, for knowing that Phillip and I were the right parents for Zach, and that Zach is the perfect child for us. And thank you , Pam, for helping me to remember this tonight.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I am grateful. I have been at the beach for two days alone with my husband and it has been so good for us to be here. Phillip and I try to get away at least twice a year for a few days, just the two of us. It does wonders for our marriage. I firmly believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a healthy marriage. Phillip and I both heard that early on and we have taken it to heart.

Marriage is not easy and it takes time, patience, and an investment in many ways, but it is oh, so worth it. I respect couples who make date nights a priority. I see couples who enjoy each other and enjoy spending time together, and that inspires me.

Since we have been here, we have laughed, gotten frustrated with each other, prayed together, read books alongside each other, taken walks together, watched movies, eaten at wonderful restaurants, and have had some deep conversations and of course,  some not-so-deep conversations as well!

My heart is full. I am more in love with my husband than I was a few days ago.

Tomorrow we will head back home and we are so excited to hug our little ones! It is good to miss them as much as we have.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Faith in action!

A really cool thing happened today, and reminded me that it is the little things that matter!! I took the kids out today. We went to Barnes and Noble and then I took them to Q'doba for lunch. Right now, pretty much doing anything with Zach is an adventure (to put it nicely). He grabs everything in sight, and throws everything in sight...and that is precisely why it is such a good idea to take him out to lunch ! HA!
Anyway, I ordered two kids meals. Taylor tried to get them from me and carry them to the table. She lost her tray balance, and of course, both meals went flying to the floor. Awesome. I was very apologetic, Zach was crying because he was hungry , and I could tell the lady behind the counter had pity on me. She gave me the "you look like you have your hands full" look, sprinkled with empathy. She said she would bring two new meals to me (I wonder why she did not want me to get Taylor to pick them up from the front counter!)
Once the meals came and I tried to give Zach his cheese quasadilla and applesauce, he wanted nothing to do with them. When he gets overly tired, which maybe he was, he takes food and just chunks it across the table. So our peaceful lunch ensued. I kept trying to feed Zach, and Zach kept throwing stuff and trying to grab Taylor's lunch, and it was a bit stressful.
After lunch was over, or said another way, after I surrendered, I began to clean up and as I was doing that, I noticed three high school girls came and sat at a table next to us. I saw that they bowed their heads and prayed before their meal, which is always encouraging to see. A few minutes later, I was trying to gather all my stuff, and collect the trash. Zach was crying and obviously ready for a nap! One of the girls from that table got up and picked up all our trash and said "let me help you with this" and went to throw it away for me. Now let me remind you , this is not a girl that worked there; this was one of the high school girls from the table next to us. I was blown away. Such a simple gesture, but obviously one born out of a faith that is action oriented that belonged to that girl! She then went and opened the door for us so I could get the stroller through.
Taylor said, "Mom, she doesn't even work here! " and I said "Taylor, she probably did that because she loves Jesus!!" Then Taylor asked me if I do things too just because I love Jesus, to which I replied '' Well, I try to!" (-:
What a great example for my kids to see today (and me as well!!) A high school girl living out her faith by helping an obviously struggling mom today!! God, will you bless, strengthen, encourage and protect the faith of that girl, whose name I don't even know? You definitely used her to bless my life today!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bloggity blog!

Hello everyone!

I have been very absent from this blog! Now that I am a working woman, I guess I have let some things slide,and one of those things is blogging! Ha- I am not even sure I remember how to do all this!

Life has been very, very full these past months but full is good! I am enjoying working so much-God has really blessed me with some awesome people to work with and I really am loving the variety I am able to experience each day. No day is the same in Children's Ministry! I feel very alive and I am very energized to be a part of something much bigger than myself!

Maybe I will try to get back to blogging a bit (no promises)...but then again, it is one of the busiest months of the year! (-:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's been a while!

Whew!! I just noticed it has been a month since I last blogged!! Sometimes blogging feels like homework, but once I do it, I am always glad I did. So, here goes...

I have had a lot going on in the last month. I preached at church on Sunday, July 18th, which was such an awesome experience for me. I was blown away that God would give me that kind of an opportunity. It was very humbling for me as well as a great chance to really depend on the Lord. I so appreciated the friends that came to support me that Sunday...some neighbors, some friends I met through Taylor's preschool, some old, very dear friends I met back when I worked at Church at Charlotte, as well as my parents and some of my extended family. That meant so much to me!! It was a very good discipline, too, for me to prepare for that over the summer.

So, after that day preaching, the following week I was just chillin' out, knowing that I did not have another speaking opportunity that I had to prepare for until October. Aahhhhhh! What was I going to do with all my time (ha ha!!)?

Then I received a phone call...long story short,and many conversations later, I was asked to be the Acting Children's Ministry Director at Lake Forest. I am a planner, and yet MY plans went out the window as I accepted this position. One week later, (this past week) , I started working! It has been a whilrlwind, and yet I feel very grateful to be given this opportunity now. It is clear that God had paved the way for me. He had prepared me by building relationships with some awesome people at Lake Forest over the years. So, in a lot of ways, this is just another example and reminder that GOD IS IN CONTROL! I am not. He has my life in His hands, and I don't always know the plans He has for me!

So, there ya go! I am along for the ride and loving it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I was leaking today...

Yeah, I know that sounds strange. I think I officially hit that point in the summer today that I realized I was leaking patience and it was draining very quickly!!

After a few weeks in a row of "Mom, what are we going to do today?" and cleaning up spill # 5,192, I realized my patience was running very low. It was just one of those days. It felt like every time I turned around, there was another mess I had to clean up and sometimes that wears on me.

But tonight, I got to go out and repair some of my leaks! T.J. Haycox hosted a "Him Sing" again at his house and I went and hung out with about ten other folks and we worshiped God for over two hours! It is amazing how quickly the cares of the day faded and my soul and spirit was filled up again.

So, tomorrow is a new day...hopefully I won't be as leaky!!(-:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's official-I am an extrovert!

Ha! My title for today's blog is a bit of a joke...but do you ever just find that you relearn things about yourself that you already knew to be true?

I love people. I gain energy from being around people (byproduct of being an extrovert). Now, don't get me wrong, I love time alone...but I am so energized when I am around people and it is soooo good for my soul.

Just a few events recently have reminded me of this...I can be in a somewhat average mood, but then I can go have coffee with someone and that completely changes my mood!

Last week, I went to one of our women's ministry team meetings. I have the privilege of serving alongside some really cool women at Lake Forest. I was so excited to go and be with them. We shared a fabulous meal together (thanks Corinne!),we talked about our lives, we talked about ministry "stuff", and we prayed for one another. If I had to rate my soul on a scale of a 1-10, it was probably a 5 or 6 when I got there and a 9 or 10 when I left! I am so aware that God does not intend for us to "do life" on our own, but He gives us other people to share our lives with! Sometimes it is messy, sometimes it is hard, but overall, it challenges me to be more and to live life more fully!

Yesterday, some friends came over to our neighborhood pool. I could have just gone with my kids and I would have had fun, but NOTHING like what I felt as a result of being with other people! I came home tired and yet energized! I find it so much more fun to share experiences with others.

Last night, my dear friend, Pam, went to church for a Bible study and she said she would come by afterward and we could hang out and talk on my porch. She came by at 9pm and we sat out there talking until 10:30'ish! I came in and the first thing I said to my husband was " I just LOVE Pam! She is such a good friend!" and I could tell my spirit was so encouraged by spending time with her. She made the initiative and even such a simple gesture like hanging out on a porch can bring so much encouragement!

And today, the kids and I got together with some of the other kids and parents from Taylor's preschool. We like hanging out together and so we decided to try and do some stuff together every Tuesday this summer. We met them and went to the fountains at Birkdale and then all went to lunch together. I really like these folks and am just so thankful we are getting together!

So, as I was driving home today, with more dirty, wet towels in the car, half drank Caprisuns from the kids, more laundry to do when I got home, I realized that my heart was full...because I had been with friends. So, it is something I already knew about myself but have been reminded of every time I have been with people lately. It does my heart good to spend time with others. I believe God created us to be in relationships with others, to share in the fun times and the not-so- fun times, and just to "do life" with others.

It has always struck me that when Jesus sent the disciples out, He did not send them out alone, but He sent them in pairs, or even in groups. I think He was onto something (-:!