Friday, November 30, 2012
This post is dedicated to my friend, Kat.
Because my children started to wage war while I was writing my all-in-one thankfulness post, I left out another important thing that I'm thankful for. I am thankful for my friend, Kat, who has dropped everything at a moments' notice without me even asking for help from her. That is a sign of a true friend. I don't often ask others for help and when I do ask for help , it is a difficult thing for me to do. Two years ago, Kat showed how much of a friend she is by being there for me 2 years ago when my daughter had a very serious accident and was transported by ambulance to one hospital and then to a children's hospital in St. Louis when it became clear that Jackie's situation was beyond what the local ER doctors were able to deal with. Jackie was hemorrhaging uncontrollably and I texted a handful of people to pray for her. Kat took it upon herself to come and support me (and Tim) personally at the 2nd hospital, a half hour away, while the doctors worked on Jackie to stop the bleeding. I was so afraid that I was going to lose my little girl. It was already past 9 pm when Kat showed up at the hospital and she stayed with me for over 3 hours before going back home. Because Kat works full-time on top of working on college classes and being a parent and wife, we don't get to see each other and spend time together very often. When we do spend time together, I enjoy KS's company. Unfortunately, Kat has orders to move to a new base in March and I will certainly miss her. Speaking of which, I am thankful for her servant heart as she serves our country in the Air Force despite having faced several very serious medical adversities during her time in the service. That includes a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment. I am thankful that God has spared Kat's life and allowed us to become friends.
Thank you for your service Kat!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I'm late, I know, but life has a way of getting in the way sometimes. So instead of doing a daily thankfulness post, and also to not be outdone by everyone else's thankfulness posts, I have decided to make an all in one post list of 30 things that I'm thankful for. Ready, enjoy!
1. I am thankful for my husband, even if he does call me mean. And even if he intentionally annoys me.
2. I am thankful for my healthy son, severe speech disorder and sensory processing disorder and all.
3. I am thankful for my healthy daughter and I'm even thankful for her "disability."
4. I am thankful that despite the brain damage that my daughter suffered and doctors' subsequent early warnings about learning disabilities and despite her significant speech delay, she has not been affected cognitively. She is a star student. And I'm not going to apologize for that shameless brag.
5. I am thankful for the Tricare health coverage that has covered all of my children's various therapy sessions and specialty doctor appointments.
6. I am thankful that God gave us another month to thoroughly enjoy our dog, Lucy, after her diagnosis of liver/spleen cancer. We weren't even given 2 weeks after the diagnosis but with the help of prednisone, we were given extra time to enjoy our sweet girl.
7. I am thankful for my closest friends in Florida because they are the ones who have stuck with me through thick and thin. They are the epitome of true friendship even though they still know very little about me. I miss them so much.
8. I am thankful for the ability to be a stay-at-home mom for the first several years of my children's' lives so that I wouldn't miss out on their many early milestones. As much as I would have liked to have worked full-time, my children have too many needs for me to take on such.
9. I am thankful that even though my husband and I had a very difficult time in our marriage during the first few months of this year, I have learned to communicate with him better and am continuing to work on it. I am determined that our children will be raised in an intact home.
10. I am thankful that my children, as much as they fight, are actually quite close and I foresee them continuing to be close. It is my goal that my children will not experience fractured relationships with family members such as I've experienced.
11. I am thankful for Jackie's physical therapist, Julie, with whom I've become quite close to. How can I not be close to her? She's been treating Jackie since Jackie was 9 months old. Julie has been a huge source of encouragement and support for me since almost the very beginning of Jackie's life.
12. I am so thankful that my children seem to have tender hearts and have compassion for others. Jackie especially has a tender heart and is very sensitive toward others who are suffering.
13. I am thankful for the gift of writing, although years ago, I never pictured myself being a writer. I have had several opportunities to write guest posts/articles.
14. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a substitute teacher as it enables me to be flexible for my children's many appointments.
15. Speaking of being a substitute teacher, I am thankful that I am well-liked and that the teachers find me trustworthy enough to call me back to substitute when the need arises. And I'm thankful that the kids always seem to like me even when I have to be firm with them.
16. Speaking of being a substitute teacher, I am thankful for teachers who leave very detailed and easy to read lesson plans for me. It makes the job so much easier. Being a substitute teacher is no longer the glorified babysitting job that it was when I was in school.
17. I am thankful for Zumba classes. Even though it is difficult for me to develop close relationships, I have developed a small handful of sort of close relationships with other Zumba lovers. For those friends, I am so thankful as they make me look forward to Zumba even more. I miss them when they are not there and they miss me if I'm not there. I can be myself around them and they still like me for me. I hope those friends know who they are.
18. I am thankful for one certain person in particular who reached out to me and befriended me about a year ago. I mean, I'm nobody important and this other person (and her husband) is an important person. It is nice to know somebody who really cares about me and my family enough to write me a note of encouragement. And to invite my entire family, high maintenance kids included, to their house to enjoy after Thanksgiving meal and play games.
19. I am thankful for another friend in particular who texts me or sends me a message to thank me for a particular post or just to encourage me about something that I've written. I rarely ever see her in person but hopefully she knows who she is. Just in case, though, her initials are PFP.
20. Another friend whom I'm thankful for is somebody who can relate to me and my anxiety/panic disorder. I've called her on more than one occasion to just talk to help me through an episode. She's been there so she understands the fear.
21. I am thankful for rekindled friendships via Facebook within these past couple of years. Actually, before some of those people found me, I didn't have the fondest memories of many of them and didn't consider them friends. At. All. But I'm thankful that through the use of social media, I have received apologies and because of it, I have found healing and developed "new" friendships. Those people know who they are, too.
22. I am thankful that my family and I will not live in Illinois forever. Or is this wishful thinking?
23. This may be odd because even though our neighbors on our east are our enemies and their 5 dogs are very noisy and wake us up too early sometimes, I am thankful for them because it could be worse. Right?
24. I am thankful for my good health. Even though this past year has been fraught with setbacks such as feet injuries, back injury, vacations, and an illness, I am still in relatively good health. And I am especially grateful for the ability to walk.
25. I am thankful McDonald's sweet tea. However, I am going to kick the habit once again very soon.
26. I am thankful for my other dog, Dugan, as neurotic as he is. He's a good little watchdog. And he's an awesome frisbee dog, too.
27. I am thankful for Magic Eraser. Too bad I didn't invent that stuff. I would be a millionaire. That stuff is great.
28. I am thankful for the people that I have heard from through my writing. It's encouraging to hear from others who say they have been encouraged by a certain post that I wrote.
29. I am thankful that I am on number 29 because to think of 30 things that I'm thankful for before my children started to wage war, was starting to get a little tough. So thankful that I love my kids unconditionally.
30. One more thing that I am currently thankful for is an approval by Tricare for a medical procedure that I will be having in 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to being more comfortable in more than one way.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
I was reminded again today of just how precious life is, especially in regard to our children. I just found out that a friend tragically lost her son to an accident. This is the second son she has buried in 3 years. Her oldest son was 19 when he died in an auto accident 3 years ago. Almost exactly 3 years after burying that son, her younger son, age 21, died. Her daughter, and now only child, is 2 1/2 months younger than my daughter. I just cannot imagine the pain my friend is experiencing. She and her husband have a strong faith and that is what is getting them through this difficult time.
I can't help but shudder at the thought of losing one of my own children. In fact, we very nearly came close to losing Ben nearly 3 years ago when Tim's aunt nearly ran him over. I'm so thankful that my son is alive and well. That memory is seared into my memory.
Hold your children close and make sure they know that they are loved. Life is so precious and we don't know what our future holds. I'm still reeling from the news about my friend. It's situations such as this that makes me wonder about God. How can he take 2 children (and good children at that) from their mother in such a short amount of time?
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I'm so proud of Jackie. She has accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed. Some things will never be easy for Jackie, such as playing the piano, because her left hand is still quite weak and she doesn't have much control with it. Jackie will never be a world class pianist based on world standards but... she is a world class daughter to me.
A couple of years ago, I enrolled Jackie in piano lessons and I really liked her instructor. Her instructor was very familiar with Jackie's "disability" and worked with her well. However, as much as Jackie insisted that she wanted to take lessons, it was a struggle to get her to practice. I finally discontinued the lessons because I didn't want to continue to waste my time and money. This past summer, I found a studio closer to our house and after talking to the owner about Jackie's needs, I decided to enroll her in lessons again. This time, Jackie has been more serious about practicing and learning the theory. She was even able to memorize her recital piece within a week. Yesterday, while listening to Jackie play her piece at recital practice, I was nearly moved to tears. And this was just practice. I was just so proud of her. If you really take notice in the practice video, you can see how Jackie has to work hard to get her left hand to work to play the proper notes. She did fantastic. She is my inspiration. (click on the image below to play)
Tonight was the real deal, the actual recital. I have to admit that I was a bit worried that Jackie would freak out and back out of doing her piece on stage. She does not like to have all attention on her. However, Jackie once again fought back her fear and went up there and performed her piece. I could tell that she was nervous but she played through it despite her mistakes. I was so afraid that she would break down and start crying after her first mistake but she soldiered on. I'm so proud of Jackie. I was beaming. I really wish that I would have gotten closer to get better video. I don't know what the twirl at after her curtsy was about. She just copied the other girls who did it. It was still cute, though. (click on the image below to play)
I really enjoyed listening during the recital tonight. I enjoy listening to all the different levels and the variety of music choices. I must admit, though, there were moments that my heart grieved for my daughter. At times, I felt jealous for her. There was such extraordinary (and very young!) talent. I'm talking about 11-year olds who played way better than some adult pianists I've ever heard. I want that for Jackie. Before Jackie's diagnosis, I had dreams of her being able to play the piano, doing gymnastics, performing ballet. The day that we received Jackie's diagnosis of cerebral palsy, I really thought all my dreams for her were gone. That hasn't been the case, thankfully, but they have had to be adjusted some. Jackie is not afraid to try things and for that I am so grateful. She may never be a world class gymnast or dancer, or a world class pianist. She will never get to the level that some of those kids tonight were playing. The reality is that she will always struggle in these areas. I won't let her give up, though. She will just have to work harder. Working harder makes one stronger, right?
Hmm, a computer is on her Christmas list? I'm pretty sure that won't happen this year thanks to too many recent medical bills. Haha, she's been to Splash City just once and she's built just one bear. She was definitely a brave little girl for her 2nd (and very painful) foot surgery. It hurt my heart to see her in so much pain but being the fighter that she is, she didn't let that keep her from getting around, even with a 6-week long, full-leg 90 degree angle cast. Just another reason my heart swells with pride for my little girl.
Isn't she beautiful? That's my daughter. I'm so thankful for her. She's such a gift, a perfect gift.
This afternoon has been so beautiful. Here are some pictures to enjoy.
Lucy, after being on death's door nearly 3 weeks ago, is still with us. Thanks to the effects of the prednisone, we were given a little more time to enjoy Lucy. Lucy has again shown a decline during the past couple of days and her breathing has become more labored. She will definitely be missed so much. My only prayer now is that God will take her peacefully and quickly during her sleep. I don't want to even think about it but I know the time is coming very soon that we will have to say goodbye to our beloved Lucy.
The following little slideshow makes me smile. After the kids ate a little lunch, they went outside to play. When I went to check on them, this is what I saw through my front door. I love it!
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Jackie attends a club at church called AWANA. Over a year ago, she started to become good friends with a little boy at AWANA shortly before he moved away with his family. Jackie was a little saddened by this but she got over it quickly. I didn't realize how much of an impression this little boy left on Jackie's heart until tonight.
When I went to pick up Jackie tonight, she was so excited to tell me that this little boy, C, who is not so little now (he's just a grade ahead of Jackie), had moved back. However, her joy quickly turned to sorrow when I told her that C and his family had not moved back but were in town to visit their friends. I told her that perhaps she can write an occasional note to C so they can keep in touch. (Actually, my ulterior motive is to marry Jackie off in 10 years to this fine young boy). She liked that idea. As Jackie and I headed down the hallway to leave the church, C was there, too, and the following conversation ensued: I told C that he grew a lot in the year since they moved away. Jackie: "Yeah, you don't even sound the same." I said it's because he grew a lot and he's older now. C: Yeah, when you get older, you lose your little voice and then you get a grown-up voice." I can't tell you the rest of the conversation because I was concentrating on stifling my laughter. C was very serious when he explained the voice change. Children are so innocently funny.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Matthew 6:34 essentially says not to worry or be anxious about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of it's own. We need to worry about the moment, the here and now and not fret so much about what the future holds.
Many years ago, when I was going through a extremely difficult time, a friend shared this verse with me and I clutched it close to me for years. It's what got me through that dark time. In the last several years, however, I've sort of put my faith to the wayside until recently. I'm going to hold hold this verse close to me and try to not fret about what the future holds for me and my family. This verse holds true for everyone; atheist/agnostic, protestant, muslim, Mormon, etc.
Monday, November 5, 2012
I bet that got your attention! I'm not telling who I'm voting for. Actually, I am looking forward so much to all this being over. Over! I'm over it all. The attack ads, the lies, everything. I've heard of broken friendships over differences of political opinion. It has just gotten to be ridiculous. And sad. I've seen people treat others with utter disregard all because of different political opinions. I've had to hide people from my Facebook timeline because if you don't believe their way, then you're less than human. That was just one of the many reasons that I recently closed my Facebook for awhile. Wednesday can't come soon enough! Whoever is placed (yes, I said placed) into office tomorrow will still need our respect, regardless of whether or not we like the outcome.
So, I guess my "thankful" for today is for Women's Suffrage. Without it, us women would not even have the right to cast our votes during election time. I'm proud to say that I have exercised that right from the time I was first eligible to do so.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
My first born baby is 8 today. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly these last few years have flown by. I feel phenomenally blessed to have my beautiful little girl as she is a true miracle in every way, from the moment she was conceived. This little girl has proved so many people wrong in all her accomplishments in her short life already. This little girl who was once labeled at school during her preschool years as "globally developmentally delayed" is now a star student, a very successful student who is now in a challenge class at school. Words cannot express how proud I am of my little girl. I will continue to shamelessly brag about her because Jackie is such a trooper. Most people don't even realize the magnitude of what she has been through since before she was born.
Jackie is a survivor, a fighter, an inspiration, and most of all, she is a beautiful little girl who is going to go so far in life. She has been talking about becoming a doctor and I have no doubt that Jackie is capable of doing so. She is very intelligent and she's also quite talented. She is creative and she's silly. She has a very tender heart, too, and that makes me even more proud to be her mother. My heart swells with such pride for her that sometimes I feel tears of joy try to escape my eyes. Sometimes, I can't help but stare at my baby girl in awe of her beauty. I just can't believe how God has blessed me with such a beautiful little girl. Jackie is perfect no matter her little disability and it is my prayer that I can continue to convey that message to her. I just want the best for her which is why I have had to become an advocate to make sure that Jackie gets the best care possible for all of her needs and I will continue to fight for this precious gift from God. Hopefully one day after Jackie becomes a doctor, she will truly understand why I fought so tirelessly for her and perhaps she will pay it forward by doing the same for her patients.
Words just cannot express how much I love my precious little girl. Happy Birthday to the sweetest, smartest, and prettiest 8-year old on the planet!