Sunday, December 27, 2009

Never a dull moment...

What started as a quick trip to Starbuck's on Christmas Eve Day turned into quite a teachable moment with Taylor. I was standing in line with Taylor, waiting to order a cup of coffee, when Taylor saw a little girl a few people ahead of us in line with her mom. Taylor did what she usually does when she sees another kid; she walked up to talk to her.
Once Taylor was up there with the girl, I saw Taylor's expression change a little bit and then she looked at the girl and said " Hey, you look weird" and walked back over to me.

Okay, I about melted into the floor and was completely shocked when she said that. I was mortified,to say the least. I saw the little girl whisper into her mom's ear (because her mom had not heard Taylor)and told her what Taylor had said. Taylor went and sat down to wait for me and soon that mom went over to Taylor and talked to her. I was finishing up in line when the little girl's mom approached me with her girl beside her and said "Your daughter told my daughter she looked weird." I looked at the little girl and said "I am so sorry she said that. You are absolutely beautiful." Then they gathered their stuff and began walking out the door.

Let me just pause here and say this...I was just going out on Christmas Eve Day to get a cup of coffee and take Taylor out on an errand with me. I was not expecting this. I mean, can you ever be prepared for what could possibly come out of your child's mouth? It takes a lot to shock me but I can honestly say I was shocked when Taylor said that. If I could have taken back her words, oh, I would have. I know how much words can hurt and the last thing in the world I want is for my daughter to hurt someone else with her words!!

So, after this lady and her daughter walked out of Starbucks, I still did not feel good about our interaction and I felt that this mom was still upset so I walked out after her, with Taylor, and apologized again. I had Taylor apologize once more and then Taylor began talking to the little girl, telling her she liked her hair,etc. The mom then opened up and said "Kids can just be so mean. My daughter often gets teased at school." Her daughter did look different and her eyelashes on one eye were completely white and she had a white eyelid. My guess is Taylor had never seen anything like that and she just said what came to her mind.

I told the lady that I have a son with Down Syndrome, and so he will probably look different too and so that will be something we will address in our family the rest of our lives. The mom then told me that her little girl has vitiligo , which is what has caused the white spots on her face/eyelids,etc. Well, how about that? I have vitiligo too!!!! I immediately told the little girl that I had vitiligo too and showed the little girl my hands and the lack of pigment there. I gave her a high five and said "We are special,aren't we? This is how God made us!!" and I think the mom was as shocked as I was that this had happened!

We talked for a bit longer, mainly about vitiligo, and then I told the little girl once again that I thought she was beautiful before they left.

As you can imagine, I talked to Taylor all the way home about how God has made us all to look different from one another and I talked about what you can and can not say to people. I tried as best I could to drive this home and then we had further discussion once we got home and I was able to tell Phillip what had happened. We then prayed for the little girl from Starbucks and we also prayed about how we use our words.

Aaaaahhh, never a dull moment, right? And all I wanted was a cup of coffee (-:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas season

I am a Christmas junkie. I love everything about this season. I love the lights, the sounds, the smells, the mostly joyful spirited people you encounter while running errands, the music, the parties, and I could go on and on.

And to think it all started in a smelly manger...all this awesomeness!!! I love that we celebrate Jesus' Birthday in so many ways. I love that all of this joy can be traced back to a helpless baby, who was born to die.

A few weeks ago, I said that I wish the Christmas season was two months long...that is how much I love it. I have found myself more reflective about all that "surrounds" the Christmas season this year, especially since Taylor is now four and seems to be becoming a Christmas junkie too, which makes her mama proud! (-: I have thought more about Santa Claus and how much to talk about him. I have thought more about giving to others. I have enjoyed the joy on Taylor's face as it seems like she is experiencing all this for the first time!

I want to recount some of the highlights I have already experienced over this past month...

1) Our tree seems to be the prettiest one we have ever had...lots and lots of lights!!!Seriously, can you have too many lights? I think not!

2) I love receiving Christmas cards and being able to catch up with everyone through seeing pictures and hearing about what has been going on in people's lives. I know Christmas letters seem to get a bad rap these days as some people say it seems like families are bragging...personally I enjoy them and don't share in that sentiment!

3) Taylor had two of her buddies from her preschool class over for a playdate and we made a gingerbread house- one of the girls said in her sweet preschool voice "This is the best playdate ever!!" Now that is priceless!

4) We went out as a family the other night and rode around and looked at Christmas lights in Cedarfield neighborhood. I was giddy with joy as we sat out in front of one of the houses that had lights on their home that were synchronized with Christmas music on a radio station! So cool! I am thankful for folks who still put the time and energy into decorating their homes so people like me can enjoy it!!

5) Went to a Birthday party for Jesus last week with some friends and their to hear the kids sing to Jesus and remember why it is we celebrate!

6) Our Hunter Family Christmas was a lot of fun- children running around and having a blast! Some of the kids only see each other once a year but that doesn't seem to matter. As we were leaving, Taylor said "Mom, that was a great party!!" I definitely have an extroverted daughter.

7) We had a wonderful dinner party at Corinne and John Kologe's house with the women's ministry team and their spouses. It was so nice to sit down and share a meal together and also get to hear from one another about some special Christmas memories we all have. I love that God has placed so many wonderful, God loving people in my life.

8) Going to see "Behold the Lamb of God" last week with lots of friends from our church was delightful(I hardly ever use that word but it seems appropriate)! It has become a Christmas tradition to go to that every year and it was especially fun to have so many other friends share that experience this year.

And those are just some of the highlights...

I am looking forward to a Christmas party tonight and then Christmas Eve is tomorrow night! Woo hoo!

What an awesome time of year!!! Thank you,Jesus,that it starts and ends with YOU!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Breathe, just breathe!

BREATHE, just breathe! If I have heard the Lord tell me this once over the past week, I have heard it a million times!! 'Tis the season, right? Life has been crazy busy and I have found myself falling into the trap of "leaving Christ out of Christmas"...not intentionally, mind you, but in the spirit of "trying to get everything done" while keeping up with life, kids, the house, laundry, lists, and more lists!

I woke up the other morning in a panic because the cards are not in the mailbox yet, some gifts have been bought, but not wrapped, and last time I checked, no elf was stopping by to do all these things for me!

So, that morning, I had to just laugh at myself and at the same time, I heard the Lord say "Breathe Cammie, breathe!!" I am amazed how quickly my focus can shift to things that are good, but surely not the most important!! Of course, I want my family and friends to feel loved this Christmas which is what is behind the bustle, BUT it should not be at the expense of slowing down and meditating on WHY we even celebrate Christmas!

So today, I am purposefully slowing down, and focusing on JESUS, and the labor of love that was shown to each one of us through His birth and His life! And to top off the day, I am going to see "Behold the Lamb of God" which has become a yearly tradition and always helps me to focus and reflect on all God has done for me.


Monday, December 7, 2009

PJ Day for Taylor and Zach in all his cuteness

Taylor's preschool class had PJ day fun would that be? To just wake up, get your stuffed animal, and head off to school! Taylor loved it!

And here she is showing off her PJ's...

And here is Zach, rockin' a cute Christmas sweater...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My daughter-an encourager!!!

It was Friday afternoon and I was getting Taylor and Zach ready to go to 252, our once a month family service at church. I mentioned to Taylor that some of her friends would be playing handbells that night during the service. This was the first Taylor had heard about the handbells because we were not able to make the practices that she would have had to attend to participate, so I had never brought it up.

So, once Taylor heard some of her friends would be playing the handbells, she suddenly was questioning why she wasn't doing it, and then got pretty upset (translate- screaming and crying because she wanted to be up on stage!!). I felt badly at this point, but tried to redirect her by telling her that her friends would really need her support and she could be a great encourager to them while they were on stage.

Little did I know, this was just what Taylor needed to hear to turn her around! She then began focusing on her friends and began saying things like "Do you think Joshua will be nervous?" and "I hope they aren't scared!!" When we saw her friend, Joshua, who is three, she ran up to him and told him "Congratulations!" since he was going to be playing the handbells. It was so cute!! Once we got to church, Taylor wanted to be up front close to the stage so she could see her friends. When all the preschoolers came out on stage, Taylor stood up and basically began "directing" them and was playing her own bells without having any in her hand. After they finished playing, Taylor ran up to some of her friends, specifically Joshua and Joyner, and told them she thought they did a GREAT job playing the handbells.

Here is Taylor with Joyner...

Later, Taylor and I were out in the lobby and she ran over and hugged a little girl I had seen up on the stage but did not know, and she exclaimed "You did such a great job up there playing the handbells!" It was so sweet, and what I loved the most about all these interactions, is that I think encouragement is so necessary today and I loved seeing Taylor encouraging all her little friends. It was also great to see her turn around from her disappointment over not being able to participate herself, to being able to encourage and support her friends who were able to participate. Who couldn't use a little encouragement these days, right?? (Even if you are a preschooler playing the handbells!!)

It gave me great hope as I watched my little girl Friday night, that maybe someday God will ignite that as a spiritual gift in Taylor and she will become even more of an encourager to those around her. I caught a glimpse of who she could become...

You go, Taylor!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Songs rich in meaning

I bought a CD recently that has impacted me greatly. The CD is "Beauty Will Rise" by Steven Curtis Chapman. I downloaded it before I went to the Well of Mercy and listened to it while I was there, in its entirety. I rarely sit down and LISTEN to music much these days-and I mean, really listen, but I did with these songs. SCC wrote this CD after losing a child last year. His daughter, Maria, then 5 years old, was run over by a car in their own driveway. I can not even imagine the pain he and his family have been going through.

He was not sure he would ever write music again. I have been a fan of his music for many, many years, and I was so deeply moved by the lyrics he wrote for this CD. The lyrics are raw and authentic. I think it is one thing to talk about our faith in Jesus and our love for Him when things are going well; it is another thing completely to live that out when you are dealt a tragedy like losing a child.

One of the songs really meant a lot to me and it is titled "Jesus Will Meet You There."

Here are some of the lyrics:

When you think you’ve hit the bottom
And the bottom gives way
And you fall into a darkness
No words can explain
You don’t know how you’ll make it out alive
Jesus will meet you there

And when the doctor says “ I’m sorry, we don’t know what else to do”
And you’re looking at your family
Wondering how they’ll make it through
Whatever road this life takes you down
Jesus will meet you there

He knows the way to wherever you are
He knows the way to the depths of your heart
He knows the way cause He’s already been where you’re going
Jesus will meet you there

As I listened to that song, I thought about a dear friend who lost her son a year ago Thanksgiving weekend. I also thought about another friend who lost her son five years ago...and then I thought about so many who are struggling to find hope right now. The reality is, even in the midst of painful circumstances that we may find ourselves in in this life, Jesus can and will meet us there. I know He has met me when things seemed really dark, and He continues to meet me every day.

Because of the trials SCC has been through, it makes the lyrics he wrote that much more powerful to me.If you need to be reminded of God's nearness when things are tough,or just be reminded that He is faithful, I hope you will get a copy!

For more on this CD...