Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 29

Since our weekend plans were cancelled we decided to find some fun close to home.
We loaded up in Big Blue to go visit the Butterfly House.
Papa asked me if I was sure they were still open for this season. Duh.
Thankfully HE has a phone you can look things up on.
He was right- they closed a few weeks ago.
I was quite disappointed but we rallied went to a great restraunt
Had some incredible Greek Food
And went out to NAS to see the Naval Aviation Museum.
She was happy as long as her shadow was joining in!

Some time to run free.

pretending to fly a plane

Hello in there........

They had tables set up for children to come dressed up
and trick or treat. Bonus!
She had a great time.

Then we stopped by the docks downtown to see a HUGE ship coming in.
It was a great day.

Fresh squeezed lemonade from lunch.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 28 A memorial

(G in jammies lovin on papa- she is Papas girl)

Our weekend trip plans were cancelled due to all the drama.
Both of N's cars are in parts in the driveway with 17yo and husband helping him
Moved oldest daughter back home
and I am tired to the bone.
I remembered that being home would allow us to attend our friend's son's memorial.
I dont know why I dont carry a box of kleenexes around
in the huge purse I've taken to carrying.
I was a mess. I guess it was seeing the hundreds of people
gathered to Honor the memory of T.
Plus seeing the impact his life had on others.
I couldnt understand his speech- His parents and those that spent a lot of time around him did.
They had some great stories to tell.

One of the musicians played "I'm 18" By Alice Cooper.
You see, T heard that song on or right after his birthday
and he loved it. His mantra from then on was "Im 18!"
He was proud of it and talked about being 18 and wanting to move out.
He has moved out- he went home.
I cried over that. He was really and truly like any other 18 yo.
I knew his love for pizza and soda, and learned about his love for our local roller derby ladies.
And how he enjoyed the Pep rally
days before his death because he was able to sit with the seniors
and see the cheerleaders, up close.
I saw video of him in an adapted chair on skiis
and learned of his love for skiing,
I knew how he loved to ride in the sidecar of the motorcycle
the feel of the wind in his hair and sun on his face.

The whole time we were there.
lil G was going back and forth
Mamas lap
Papas lap.
Kisses for mama
Kisses for papa.
Waving hi to people sitting around us
Singing along with the songs.
Looking from side to side,
Our pediatrition -a child with special needs
who had to carry lil G around and begged to babysit her
the man in charge of the Miracle league sitting next to us
spoke of T hitting 3 home runs at each game
Seeing our previous pastor sitting across the aisle
Talking with him about his new church
and the fact that Lil Gs orphanage Director attends his church
their plans of a missions trip next summer
The family sitting behind us with an adult son with Down Syndrome
picking up the book lil G "accidentally" dropped on the floor.
Two rows in front of me, one of my BFF's who rallied the whole adoption saga
and her friend that has adopted again and again.

Knowing how T's family rallied around us that year and a half wait.
Prayed while we were in Ecuador for 8 weeks.
thinking of another friend who was given the gift of time with her newly married daughter.
The other family in our church with an adult son with Down Syndrome
In ICU all week....... thinking of them
and the value and purpose their son has.

As we sang a worship song
tears streaming down my face
feeling little hand sneaking up into mine
until I could.not.sing.another.word
Feeling so honored
a beautiful community,
captured by grace.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 27 Pinhole cameras -perspective

"My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings,
altogether insignificant.
But if I obey Jesus Christ
in the seemingly random circumstances of life,
they become pinholes through which I see the face of God."
Oswald Chambers.

I read this quote on another blog
and it make me think of today,
and yesterday.
"One thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp
has taught me to look at things differently.
To see things through a new lens, a new perspective.
Choose thankfulness.
How different things look through this lens.
(freshly painted room - Glidden Sweet buttered corn)

As I was getting last minute things done this morning
before we move oldest daughter back home
I was slicing peaches to freeze.

I saw the colors and patterns and called husband to come look
Come see the colors and how it looks like
God water colored the streaks and texture on them
I grabbed my camera and started taking picture after picture to capture that moment.
The day fully of busyness
but moments needing to be captured
Needing to pause to see Gods hand.
Then reading that quote several hours later....
And it got me to thinking of my childhood.
I loved getting World Magazine-
I was thinking about the issue
where they had the instructions
maybe a cardboard template for a pinhole camera.
Me capturing moments
through a pinhole
seeing the face of God
graces of God.....
My boys/now men all sitting in the living room
the deep voices filling up the room
my heart overflowing
that we can be together and love on each other
when the road might be hard to navigate.
Lil G running and squealing into big brothers arms
such a surprise for him to be here on a weekday
She didnt hide her delight
that is a foreign concept for her.
One more gift to add to the list.......
once the house was quiet and they had left with the empty trailer
she and I sat to enjoy an impromptu snack

cheese and crackers
laughter and signs
her hair gleaming in the lamplight
another gift
this moment
of prayers over cheese and crackers
being thankful for a simple snack
her reminding me to always be thankful
even for the simple things
Lil G continues to teach me
of grace......
moment by moment.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 24 -25-26

I will let you know in advance that I may have to end the month early.
I received a phone call from my oldest daughter Monday night, in tears,
There is no other way around it,
She is coming home.
I am torn, I know how badly she wanted to tough it out and do this without our help.
Given the economy, and the woman she moved in with, its not possible.
I am praying with all that is in me
that we can not only give her a room, but also space to heal.
In her present situation that isnt happening.
She isnt accepting alimony or anything from her ex-husband
so its been a hard road emotionally and financially.

So, today I will be getting our spare room ready for our oldest daughter.
We are planning on going out of town this weekend to visit my parents before my mother has surgery next week.(not sure if we will have to cancel with the new turn of events)
I am hoping I can type out posts for the remaining days of October,
but Im warning you now.
Weve been treading water for awhile and I need to grab a bucket and bail.

On to today's post real quick:
I have enjoyed reading other families stories
how Down Syndrome has changed their family and faith.
Our story is different in so many ways,
I had three biological children
pretty much grown
before we really felt we wanted to be parents again
and it included special needs.
It was a choice,
not a surprise when we were expecting something different.
It was planned.

I just read the new Book, " A good and perfect gift."
I am so glad for the families out there that are telling their story.
I feel that it not only empowers other families in the same place,
not having a diagnosis until after their child was born,
but reading her story is good for those of us that havent been through this,
to develop a sense of empathy.
Just because I have a daughter with Down Syndrome
doesnt mean I understand what each family has been through.
(just like my daughter being divorced- its teaching me a new way of seeing, caring for others)
The extended family in this book deserves applause,
I love the way her mother came and stayed with her after her daughters birth,
and continued to have such a huge role in their healing and day to day life.
I was a tad bit envious since both of our sets of parents live so far away.
(six and eight hour drives)
I also appreciated the authors honesty about her faith and the way that the birth of her daughter, and the forward steps they took affected her and her faith story.
Life has a way of doing that doesnt it.

This is how our Tuesday ended
A whole gallon of paint

not on the walls,
but the parking lot of our Big box store.
And daughters brand new jeans- worn for the first time
and favorite shoes.
By the time we got it fixed at the store
it had dried on her pants and shoes.
I asked them if they were going to replace them
they had to call the manager again.
After an hour of drama, no supper,
I left my number and asked them to have him call me. We ate supper at 8:30pm. Ugh.
(I bought a bag of cashews and drink when it looked like things would take awhile)
There couldnt have been any way the lid was on properly because it was spilling as it was falling
before it hit the ground.
(guy actually asked if we wanted another gallon of the same color? Really? Um no, Ive decided this one doesnt look good with my skin tone.)
I have many many things to add to list of things to be thankful for.
ummmm- it wasnt on my car, wasnt in my car, in my house........
you get the picture.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 23 - Faith in Action!

Today I am blogging about Down Syndrome Awareness......
and my church family.
The church is made of people
all in different places in our faith journey
broken people and broken processes
It is what it is.
I know many people wrestle with finding the right church.
I am a firm believer of being part of a community
We have been members of this church body for a long time
Our denomination moves pastors around more often than I would prefer.
Thats my only complaint......
not looking for perfect, just forgiven.
its all grace.......

God used my church family to help bring Lil G home
really, I dont know if we couldve done it without them
so thankful I dont have to know.
Lil G isnt the only member of the church with special needs
I continue to pray that the ministry grows
and includes something for everyone.
Does your church have many with different ablilities?
are there programs to foster spiritual growth for everyone?
As a child lil G doesnt need anything special.
But I can see that over the years things will change
the gap might need to be filled in a different way.
I can see that its needed for the Adults in our congregation that with Down Syndrome.
Some of the families attend two churches to have all the needs met.

Today I was thrilled to arrive ready to serve,
you read right.
We went to church to BE the church.
Tonight we will go back for Spagetti supper on the grounds and Worship in the Evening.
ALL my peeps will be going and I am praying with all my being
that God meets them there.
I cant wait to go back and hear the stories and interact with the new people I met today.
(Paul Lil G and I went to deliver a meal to a shut-in. )

(Getting ready to pray before we go)
While the meals were being prepared to be delivered

Lil G and Papa went to play on the playground
I wrote notes in cards
You wanna hear how many were written
for the care packages we are putting together for soldiers?

I had to take her to look at the punkin's while Papa went to get the truck.
She wouldnt look up to have her picture taken....ugh.....
and felt the need to move them around.
Organization seems to be one of her gifts/talents.
Will come in handy since its not one of mine.

I remain,
Under His wings,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 22

its all grace.........

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 21

Today I am taking part in a blog hop with Becca

Ive been at a loss at what to post in 31 for 21 this year.
I thought it would be easier actually having a child with Down Syndrome.
Last year my head was still spinning -
we had only been home Since the first of August,
I was still the "new parent". Napping when little G napped,
trying to find my cooking Mojo.
Playing in her room with her, watching "signing time" videos.
Just trying to get my head above water.
(See her on the couch with L and J! 2 years old)

( ADORABLE!!! with J and L )

I dont know much about her first 4.5 years.
I am hoping that when her baby book is ready
it will shed some light on things we missed.
Due to the language barrier we came home
with many unanswered questions.
I know that she was born with congenital cataracts,
she had surgery and they tried using contacts to correct her vision.
She had problems with eye infections and was fitted with glasses.

pictures of her learning to walk the Fall she turned 3.
I know that she was ready to potty train when they tried it the Fall she turned 4.
They thought it would be a difficult process- took less than two months.
It surprised me hearing this story - I would have started trying earlier
which might have led to more frustrations.
She wasnt speaking last year
we took the first three "signing time videos" to Ecuador with us
and played them in Spanish mode. That was a God send.
We sent those to Ecuador for the children wth special needs that we had to leave behind.(they were amazed at the progress she had made those 8 weeks.) She has over 350 signs now,
we are always talking, never signing instead of speaking. Signing together with speaking.
I am shocked almost daily at a new sign or word spoken,
yesterday she said and signed "baby goll" as she held her baby doll in her arms. (signing one handed!)
We like to color at her easel, it keeps the paper at eye level so help her see it better.
She tears paper and plays with clothespins to develop her finger muscles.
We play with shape sorters, she started with one with only 5 shapes and now works with 12. (I separate the shapes into piles for each side. Eventually I will add to the pile until all of the shapes are together to choose from.

We listen to music, her sign language videos came with CDS with the songs on them, classical music, and an old Wee sing CD. She loves 80s music and the contemporary Christian music we listen to. She enjoys chunky puzzles and books. I keep a basket of board books at her level so she can pull them out and put them away whenever she desires. I believe its building a foundation for future love of learning/reading. She has a small tricycle and wants to be succesful.
She had a hard time walking well when we first met her.
This was due to her not wearing her glasses as she should.
We dont know what happened- she has no lens so is legally blind without glasses/contacts.
I dont know if the caregivers didnt understand this
or if it was just too hard to keep the glasses on her.
(She is adamant about what she does and does not want!)
She has worn contacts since last fall and it gives her a better range of vision.
She does well with them, its dependant on if her allergies are bothering her and what we are doing that day. (going to the pool etc.)
I dont want to have my fingers in her eyes several times a day
so some days we just put the glasses on.
The contacts are very expensive and the last thing I want is to be hunting a contact-
weve learned to put her in sunglasses in the car to keep her from rubbing her eyes when we arent watching
and I keep her hair pulled severely from her face
to keep the little hairs from tickling her.

She loves Sesame Street- watches two each morning , we skip Abbys flying fairy school.
For some reason she doesnt like that part.(3ish in Ecuador)
She loved Barney in Ecuador - I occasionally let her watch it but like to limit the time we are watching TV and feel like she will learn more with Sesame Street.

We are using several books from Woodbine Publishers
purchased from Amazon to learn to read,
along with flash cards and power point slide shows I made.
I try to only spend 15 mins a day or less on each game,
keep the success rate high.

I found these CD's and thought they would be really helpful.
I wanted to share them with yall in case......
Speechercise , speechercise level 2.
Little G heard me play a couple songs
and was instantly by my side dancing. I guess they passed the test!
There were quite a few more listed on this page
I started at CDB publishers so I know they carry one, maybe more.

She already helps around the house.
She feeds the dogs twice a day
she puts her dirty clothes in the hamper
(takes it OUT sometimes too!)
She also puts the silverware in the drawer.

This is what Down Syndrome looks like for our family.
As G adjusts to family life, we really are more alike than different.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 20

I am posting this month about Down Syndrome awareness this month.
Down Syndrome isnt that big of a deal
Especially when you have a husband that calls home and tells you,
"Go to
read it,
if the Lord tarries,
this is what I want......."

I am praying that there will be a day,
this side of heaven that others will look at lil G
and see the beautiful person she is.....
the one the mama adores,
the one that papa adores.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 18-19 - Yarn along

My Tuesdays are just so FULL!
I have Bible study in the morning till lunch,
I rush home to tend to lil G, put her down for a nap
so we can go to Dance class.
Note to self: Do NOT tell Lil G that she needs to nap
so she can attend dance class when she wakes up!
Once again she has surprised me.
I hear giggling and squeaking of the bed at 2:45. Huh?!
She usually naps 3 hours.
I go into her room
the first word out of her lips is "Dance?!" (daaah-with the dance sign)
What is a mom to do but get her up and ready?
(instead of letting her sleep till the last.possible. minute.)
The whole time she is chattering about dance
and signing/saying "happy" I could have cried happy tears.
But I had already cried buckets.
grief has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it
So I just smiled with red-rimmed eyes
and kept working towards our goal.
If you were to ask me,"what are your goals for Lil G and dance?"
(Peeking in at the big girls dancing and wanting to join in)

I might have to think about it.
heres the list:
  • learning to follow directions
  • having a teacher other than mama/ papa
  • having something to look forward to each week
  • learning to interact with other children appropriately
  • learn spatial awareness. (lil G stuck her finger in her eye while signing bug- you put your thumb on your NOSE!)
  • good posture
  • learning how to gallop, and move her body parts appropriately on command
  • utilizing something she LOVES to accomplish these things and SO MUCH MORE
Her teacher and I were SO PROUD yesterday.
She has come so far in the past few weeks.
This is a very good thing.
We get home late, hungry, tired. No blogging.
Putting two posts in one will just have to do
because I am not going to give up and its the best I can do!

this was to be todays post.........

While son was helping me buckle the carseat in the car for ballet I checked the mail.
And a package arrived!
I won a contest last week~ and the gift was just so perfect.
Written by Amy Julia Becker
I started reading it last night and got to page 68 before sleep started to settle in.
I have been knitting on the prayer shawl for a much needed gift.
Ive ripped out several rows and was so thankful to start knitting and making forward progress.
I dont do well with charts and will be writing out each row before I knit it from here on out.
Ive had to do this before. Sigh.
Two rows knit before bed.
I remain,
Under His wings,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16 31 for 21

When lil G woke from her nap today we went out to the Peanut farms.
There was a shop with fresh produce and boiled peanuts and pumpkins.

Waiting for the big kids to share boiled peanuts with her

Hot sweaty and tromping around in the sunflower patch.
My Ecuadorian Princess doesnt do well with the heat.
Being carried by Big brother once she had enough.

Friday, October 14, 2011

day15- 31 for 21

This says it all......
to the little ones with Down Syndrome
and big,
The mamas and the papas,
the sisters and brothers,
carried in our womb or in our heart.......
my sweet readers.
and artist friends.

savor this song with me today....
wont you please?
Let it fill you from top to bottom.

I remain,
Under His wings,

PS Edited to add this......
When I wrote this post yesterday
so I could have an internet break over the weekend-
I didnt know that at 10:30 -11:00pm
we would learn that a dear friends 18 year old son would soon be in heaven.
Tyler, You and your family have blessed us.
I know that you are now Dancing with Jesus... in your new body.
this is for you too
and your family-
Annie, Youve held me when I cried.
Now its my turn..
We are blessed to know you.

Day 14- 31 for 21

Today I am joining the ladies over at studio JRU
sharing whats been going on in my studio.
(oh how I look forward to sharing on Friday!)
Since we live in NW Florida
Fall hasnt arrived in full force yet.
This morning I did wake to the sound of birds singing -
husband opened the windows. A new cool front.
Tuesday mornings I attend a Bible study,
We are reading "One thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp.
We left with a project-
find God around us and photograph it.
This is what I saw when I got in my car to leave.
A vine of heart shaped leaves bright yellow hanging down with a background of green.
It made me think of the many flowers and vines with heart shaped leaves......
Like God visibly showing us love through nature.
My artist eyes and heart sang with the thought of it!
We have two kinds of wild vines in our area with heart-shaped leaves,
then you add Scuppernog vines,
morning glories, moonflowers.
I saw them all day as we ran errands.
"God Valentines" all day.
I am knitting a prayer shawl.
Filled with love and prayers
to wrap around a dear lady going through a hard time.
It has falling leaves in the lacework.
And Ive been painting on these.
I was thrifting last weekend and stumbled on these SOLID
round back windsor chairs.
A little elbow grease, primer/paint-all in one
6 chairs for $50$15 in paint and sandpaper-Not bad.
(I also bought a $5 rocking chair for little G that needs the same treatment!)
Since I am also blogging about Down Syndrome Awareness this month,
Id like to add a thought,
My parents were so concerned that adding a little one
with that extra chromosome
would change our lifestyle, for the worst.
I can assure you,
I am just as busy now with the things that I love, enjoy
as I was before lil G, maybe even more-so
because I am so thrilled at seeing how love
a family
really can make a difference.
I can make a difference!
If you have time and havent read it yet,
take a peek at yesterdays post.

if you still have some time
Go take a peek at "whats in my studio"
if youd like to see some creative hearts at work.
Praying God sends you plenty of valentines this weekend...
I remain,
Under His wings,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13- 31 for 21 What it means to be loved

I Was given the idea for this post by a dear friend of mine.
Weve never met face to face,
but I know one day, maybe one day soon,
I will be "just passing through".
I'll give her a call and it will work out for us to stop by
even to just share an embrace and a tear or two.
When she shared the song, "What it means to be loved"
in her post yesterday
and again today.
It took me back to the beginning.
I have to share my heart.
Since bringing lil G home
weve had people give us the crazy eye
People ask questions that have hard answers,
All I can say is when you are my husband,
when you are me,
and Gods love
rocks your world,
THIS is what happens

and that led to this

which leads to this......

which led to this......
Dont pat me on the back,
dont tell me what a great person I am,
WE are,
it takes a team you know!
Because I am just as human as you are
as the guy next door,
and its a big BUT
We took this thing burning inside us
and we ran
we ran hard
and when We just felt like we couldnt take
more step
we did.

And some days are hard.
and the world is crazy
and its spinning in a mad circle
but I have to choose
"choose this day whom you will serve"
each and every day I choose.....
and its sometimes minute by minute
those "who will you serve" questions
and covering your ears because it will rob you if you let it.
dont let it rob you
you arent looking for happy
look for joy.
live it out in the hard places
He is the same God today as he was yesterday.
He knows how badly the sin rocking this world
take comfort in it.
in a blink of an eye it will all be over
But I want to embrace joy TODAY
no matter what
I want to see the grace TODAY
no matter what
I want to love deeply TODAY
no matter what
cuz my life depends on it.
Maybe even
other lives depend on it.

Its Mark Shultz's Bio
and HIS story
about what it means to be loved
Here is the song

And the lyrics
in case you want to really shed a tear or two.......

What it means to be loved
~Mark Shultz

For five months and eight days my wife and I had waitedGettin' ready for our baby girlBut when he called the doctor said I need to see youand could you come in soonthen something died inside of me to sit with him and hearthe tests that said our baby may not live to be a yearthen turnin' to my wife and he said "whata you wanna do?"and she said...

I wanna give her the worldI wanna hold her handI wanna be her mom for as long as I canand I wanna live every moment until that day comesI wanna show her what it means to be loved

so we spent each day, watchin' every minuteand prayin' for our baby girland I will not forget the way I felt that momentwhen she came into this worldbut they took her from the room just as soon as she was born

and watchin' through a window I could see her holdin' on

when a voice inside me said...
I wanna give her the world

I wanna be her dadI wanna hold her close for as long as I canand I wanna live every moment until that day comesI wanna show her what it means to be loved

I said everydaywe've got to bring her homeshe's been out to prove the doctors wrongoh and you should see her nowshe's as pretty as her momand theres a boy at the front door waiting just to take her to her high school prom...

and he wants to give her the worldwants to hold her handand she may get a wedding bandbut shes gonna live every moment until that day comeand were gonna show her what it means to be lovedoh yeah (what it means to be loved)

[ From: ]
If youve stuck to the end of my long post.
I thank you.
I remain,
Under His wings,