Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A busy summer/fall!

Esther is now Three Years Old!  And she's wearing glasses!

She is also going to be a big sister!  We are expecting blessing #12 on April 2nd!

That is why I haven't posted any updates for Esther since July!

Here's some updates for Esther right now - She is not currently in any therapies right now because she graduated out of the birth to three program on her birthday.  She is doing really well on all developmental levels.  She's behind typically developing children, but not that far, and she gains ground all the time as she is one motivated little girl!

Most parents of children with Down Syndrome put their children in public school preschool programs at 3 years of age so they can continue to get the free therapy.  We have chosen to not participate in that at this time.  We found out that we can enroll her and only go in once a week for a 1 hour session to see a speech therapist for 30 minutes and then an occupational therapist for 30, but for now we are happy with her learning here at home with all her busy siblings.

She has been very healthy this summer and fall.  We have experimented with less and less thickening  for her liquids and she did so well that now the only thing we thicken is her morning juice as we give her all her medications in the drink and the thickening helps to get the meds to suspend in the drink - but we are only doing half the thickening for that now too!

She is using more verbal communications - and we are starting to pick up on more of them. She is beginning to call family members by name and says words like "thank you" and "baby" and "please", although people outside out family would probably not understand them - but we do!

Her latest favorite things to do are playing/hugging/kissing her baby dolls, escaping out the front door (we now try to keep it padlocked as she will go outside in the cold without her coat/shoe), giving hugs to everyone (we call them hug-fests),  praying at meals and at bed time (and sometimes over her snacks/juice too!), saying new  words and having us know what she is saying and she still loves to be cuddled anytime, anywhere!

One very exciting thing is that Esther is featured on the Smiles of Life calendar this coming year - they should be out any time now  - you can see the photos we took on my last blog post.  If you are interested in getting a copy of the calendar, leave a comment and I'll let you know once I know how to get them!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Esther's Photo Shoot!

I submitted an application to see if Esther could be included in the 2011 Smiles Calendar and she was accepted back in June.  Last Friday we met with Amy and Lesley for Esther's photo shoot.

When we got there, the photographer was not there a her camera had not been working properly and she had to go home to get her back up camera.  So while we waited, we did our own little photo shoot:

Jessica and Esther watching the boats - this photo is my favorite for style...

More boat watching

Esther gives THE BEST HUGS in the world!

And she is so stinkin' cute!

Esther being a little uncooperative, but she did quite well and was even adorable photogenic at times!

Sisterly sweet!

I think she was trying to take big steps just like her big sister!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Esther's Soother

Most babies hold onto and/or rub something when they are soothing themselves.  A "blankie" seems to be the most common.  Esther has an unusual item that she uses to sooth herself, and she uses it when she is sucking her thumb:
Her Hair!
She plays with her pony tail, pig tail, this case she had gone to bed without a pony tail so she "played" with her hair all night long turning into the hairdo reminiscent of the 1960's bee hives!

It looked worse that it was...she's made worse before - one mat took me over 1/2 hour to get out!

But there's one blessing in this "smoother" - it can't get lost!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A New Blog is Born...

...well, kind of anyway!  I have sent many people to my blog for them to read about our dear, sweet Esther...and I do blog about her probably more than any of my other children!  This is not that she is more loved (although that might be true), but because, in general, her life has many more "news worthy" events!

I have imported all my blog posts from the past that had anything to do with Esther's first couple of years, so you  will find lots of things in the posts that don't need to be there in order to tell Esther's story, but then, again, Esther's story is part of our family story and visa versa!

I haven't had a post just about Esther in a while, so I'm going to do an update and talk about events in Esther's life over the past year or so, and touch of some of the health issues we have faced this year.

Last October, Esther started walking for the first time.  She had gone in to Cascade Orthotics, right here in Ferndale, and she was fitted with little pink and white orthotics in order to stabilize her ankles.  Children with Down Syndrome tend to have extra flexibility and join laxity due to their low muscle tone.  Many of them need extra support for their ankles to prevent them from collapsing inward, leading to deterioration of the bones over the course of years and increasing their difficulty in walking.  The orthotics usually are not needed once the muscles and bones "remember" the proper positioning.  This usually takes a couple of years, but in some cases the orthotics are needed for a lifetime.  Esther has never minded them, and actually enjoys helping me put them on.  The biggest challenge in our busy household is to make sure she wears them everyday!

Here's what they look like:
With her shoes on (the insole is removed from the shoe) you can hardly tell that she has them on...just a little pink and clear plastic poking up.  Her gate (how she walks, especially how far apart her feet are) is much better when she has them on, and she can walk faster as well.  She is also more stable on uneven ground.

Esther has had a wonderful occupational therapists visiting us twice a month all through this past year.  Shannon is so sweet and good with Esther and really helped us come up with ideas to strengthen her core muscles to improve her stability, strength and proper walking mechanism.  Esther walked with almost no bend to her knees and hips at first, kind of like walking on stilts.  Then she did good bending her knees, but not at lifting her thighs/bending at the top leg joint.  So we did practice walking on my bed, up stairs, and doing sitting to standing and back down practice.  Her feet are quite close together when she walks now and we are very pleased with her progress.  

Esther was also seeing a pediatric opthamologist this past fall and winter as we were concerned about her eyes crossing at times.  This seems to be more prominent when she is tired, but we are seeing it more often right we might be heading back down to Mt Vernon for eye appts again...

Esther has been on thyroid medicines since she was just 2 months old, so we have to take her in every 3 months for blood work to see if she has out grown her current dose.  She has dosage increases twice, once at 15 months and once this past winter.  It takes a while to get it right, and we did need to tweak it again in the spring.  Keeping her thyroid supported means that she will have fewer problems that are common to people with Trisomy 21 - short stature, thin hair, dry skin, weight gain, brain development...those are all things that are controlled by the Thyroid so it's critical that the thyroid function is monitored in these children.  She and other may still have problems in those areas, but proper thyroid support can minimize them.

Last summer Esther had two bouts of near pneumonia when no one in our home was sick.  Her speech therapists believed that she was having aspiration issues, so we tried to do a swallow study, but Esther did not cooperate at all.  So we decided to treat her as though she had aspiration issues and began to use Thick-It to thicken all her liquids to nectar consistency. Her breathing cleared up and for the first time that I could remember I could not hear "junk" in her respirations!  It was wonderful!  She had a very healthy fall and winter that I am sure it mostly due to the change in her liquids!

Esther has just completed 1 year since her last cardiology appointment, so she has one more year before she has to go back to Seattle Children's Hospital for her next check up.  So everything is going great on that count.
swimming with Rachel

Esther's one big batter this year was just this past spring.  Our entire family came down with a really bad respiratory sent most of us to bed for a week and took weeks to recover from.  Esther did get it, and did well for the first week or so, but then her breathing began sounding terrible.  We ended up in ER twice and were giving her breathing treatments at home...and we went to the doctor's office once as well.  Finally I went to the doctor to get myself treated for a sinus infection, and then I decided that no matter what I was taking Esther in the next morning just to see if she was doing OK.  She wasn't - I took her to the doctor's appointment and they immediately did a breathing treatment, then off to ex-rays, then another breathing treatment...then they said she needed to be hospitalized immediately.  So we rushed her to the hospital and spent 5 days there as they worked to battle her pneumonia.  She had two kinds - bacterial and aspiration pneumonia.  The aspiration was not from her drinking liquids, but due to aspirating the fluids/mucous from her nose and throat.  This can be very serious.  She was very lethargic for the first couple of days, but perked up after that.  She recovered nicely once home and has not had any further respiration issues since then.  
Last month she wasn't feeling well and had several bouts of crying as though she was in pain (she hardly every complains about anything, so we take crying very seriously with her).  I took her in after about a week of these nightly crying spells and found that she had developed an ears infection.  No cold symptoms, just pain to let us know.  So she was back on antibiotics once again, but recovered if her poor digestive system would just recover from them we'd be in great shape!
playing softball in our front yard..
waiting patiently for the opportunity to run home...
she also took the time to look at the cereal box that we used for third base!

Currently she is no longer going to Bellingham for speech therapy as Shannon is on maternity leave and Esther's first home speech therapist, Vicky, is back with us.  Esther can communicate quite well.  She has about 15 signs that she can do, including please, more, ball, drink, all done and others.  She also has many words as well like Mom, mommy, cat, ball, hi, hi dad, yeah and others.  We are currently working on Thank You (she can do it, but it needs re-enforcement), and outside.  We are trying to distiguish her sign for drinking and having her sign for eating that is different - right now it's mostly the same, but she has signed for eat with an open hand, so we are close!
Esther love clapping for daddy's softball team!

sleeping on me...this is a regular event around here
Esther favorite activities are clapping and waving (she absolutely loved the 4th of July parade and loves going to daddy's softball games), playing on the trampoline with the kids, swimming in our pool with her big siblings, wandering around our big yard, clearing surfaces (tables, chairs), and giving big hugs.  She loves to cuddle and sometimes will give kisses too.
Here she is putting a pillow where it belongs
...helping with the laundry

Esther also sucks her thumb (our first thumb sucker), and is left handed like me and her sister, Elizabeth.  But she can use either hand for most things as well.
I think that's about all and brings things up to date.  I'll try to post more things hear as they come to mind, and especially post more photos of her here regularly!

Lastly, here are some photos I took when a young lady, Ali, that I had met at bowling last year came over with a sweater she had crocheted for Esther - as you can see Esther loves and sweater and we had a great time with Ali that day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Second Chances

Everyone needs second chances, I know I do.  I had to give someone else a second chance today and it was sooo worth it!

When Esther was just teeny tiny and we were trying so hard to get her home from the hospital, I had one of the worst days, I was so disheartened.  I wrote about this day in a post entitled "It's Sooo Hard" and I talk about an encounter with the pediatrician who was caring for Esther during that time.  Every 3 days or so we'd get a new pediatrician and see saw back and forth as to what is would take to get Esther home.  I was very offended at a remark he made and have always held this against him.

Until today he's never been the on call doctor when I needed to take Esther (or any of the children) in to be seen when our doctor was not available.  I always ask who's on call, as I prefer to have Esther seen by a doctor who has seen her before when she is ill.  When I heard who was on call, Dr F I'll call him, I almost decided to wait, but Esther really needed to be seen again and soon.  So I decided to make the appt anyway.

But first a  little more background to set the stage for this second chance.  Children with Down Syndrome tend to have very tiny everything - fingers, toes, heads, forearms, upper thighs, blood vessels, ears, airways and ear canals.  Esther has typically sized things for all in the list except the internal ones.  And her ear canals are tiny - and one is exceptionally tiny.  Since she was just a baby she has HATED to have anyone, even me, mess with her ears at all.  Don't even go near them...when a doctor holds the otoscope she starts to cry and tries to hide.

Until Today.

As I was waiting for the doctor to come into the room, I could hear him talking in the room next door and in my room was a, Esther was quietly snuggling in my lap (a sign that she's really sick as she's usually trying to escape out of the room).  The battle was in my mind.  I was so ready to have an attitude when he came in.  But I kept reminding myself to think on "whatsoever things are true..." and during the time we worked with Dr F before I was sleep deprived and in a very difficult situation to say the least.  I kept reminding myself that I had heard from others that they just loved him and that he was so good with children.  I forced myself to be pleasant, friendly and "pretend" that we were seeing him for the first time - I reasoned also that he sees so many babies that he probably wouldn't remember us anyway!

So, in he walks - he immediately focused on Esther, saying "hi" and getting her to interact with him.  While he and I talked he was gently warming up to the time he was going to listen to her breathing, she was starting to get a little concerned, but he comforted her and talked to her and before I knew it, she was sitting quietly while he listened...she has been doing so much better lately, that I chalked it up to getting accustomed to the procedure.  Then it was time to look in her ears...I braced for the battle...he started talking about birdies and doing little whistles (this has been tried and met with failure by several doctors in the past), but his whistle was sweet and bird-like.  And then the miracle happened - she allowed him to look in her ear while she sat quietly...I was dumbstruck...but that ear canal was larger and more accessible, the left ear will be different, right?  Kind of - she fussed a little, and he just put light pressure on her head and she calmed right down and let him look into her ear for a good long time!  Even then, he only got a half glimpse of her swollen, pink ear drum, but enough to confirm that the antibiotics she was on were not doing the job.

So, the moral of the story?  We all need second chances!  We all need to give others second chances - we might be the ones missing out on the blessing if we are bitter or holding onto resentments.  And we are definitely the ones suffering when we do that, as bitterness and resentment do the most damage to the ones holding onto them!

And  here's eye candy - first a photo taken the day before my "first encounter" with Dr F:
Esther - 1 week - with a feeding tube and oxygen
And here's Esther last week at her daddy's softball game:
she loves going to the softball games - she loves to clap whenever anyone claps!

What to you think - would Dr F have recognized her???

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our New Learning Curve

Looking out over the years we have been a family, I can see how, at times, God has taken us by the hand and led us into times of great learning, and then times of living out what we have learned, and then due to our human/sinful nature we slide into "the easy life" and go with the flow, usually backwards/downwards.

Our biggest time of learning and growing in the past was just before and the first years after we moved onto this property.  We learned that our home was intended to be the center of our life, cultivating a love for God and His word, and learning to be frugal, depending less and less on materialism and worldly living.  We homeschooled in earnest, we learned to bake bread and can nearly everything, raise animals, care for chickens all year long (not as easy as it sounds) and enjoy the goodness of fresh eggs, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and read books and magazines almost constantly as we learned how to function as a family in a way that was pleasing to our Lord.

We began to see that our world has lost the vision for families - dating is recreational intimacy until you finally decide that is is time to get married, "shacking up" is the best way to find out if you are compatible for marriage, marriages are not meant to last a lifetime (dating has trained us that when the going get tough, you get out), children are an accessory while they are babies, and then an inconvenience once they are toddlers and not so cute anymore, and the sooner you can get them in preschool/daycare the better, men are useless so women need to take command of their homes (and if they are useless, why keep them around once they have served their purpose and given us our children), religion is something that is there when you need it - holidays and funerals, and our sole purpose here on earth is to live for ourselves ("you deserve a break today") and so much more.

We began to see that being a Christian was a relationship with God Almighty, and that out of  our love for Him we were to seek how best to live our lives in a manner that would please Him, bring glory to His name, and allow us to enjoy Him forever.  When we began to question everything the world had taught us, and went to the Bible and wise counselors/writers we found that, as most of Jesus' teaching, the way we had been taught to view our world was backwards!  It is not about us, it is about God and others. That the years God gives us before marriage are to be purposeful - serving God, learning the skills necessary to be godly husbands/wives and godly fathers/mothers!  That God is very involved in marriage, and that He will lead and guide us to the one He has designed as our perfect counterpart, and that we should never enter into a relationship without guidance and commitment to find out if the other person is that one that God has for us! Marriage is sacred - so sacred that God says it is a view of the relationship of the body of Christ to Christ Himself!  So sacred, that we are to remain pure, both physically and emotionally, so that when we enter the covenant of marriage we come with no baggage! That children are a blessing,that God never makes mistakes and that we should rest in His sovereignty as to the children He wants to place in our family, and that they are to be taught at home by their parents every day and in all activities - God holds parents accountable for their upbringing and if we delegate that to the schools, that does not remove our accountability.  That men have the God given responsibility to lead their family, to desciple their wives and children in the way of the Lord, to protect their sons and daughters from the evil in our world, and to train their sons to be great men of God, ready to make a difference in their world for Christ.  That women have been given the responsibility to raise their daughters (and other younger women) to be godly women who understand that their roles as a wife and mother are sacred and a high calling, to be taken very seriously, not as a part time job, but as a lifetime of service for their Lord.

Over the last 16 years, we have tried to follow what the Lord has taught us, but at times the busy-ness of a growing family can wear you down, especially if you are not in a network of other believers who have made similar commitments in their lives.  I went through a severe time of loneliness and discouragement for a couple of years, and then, seven years ago, we were led by the Lord to change churches, and we have been so blessed there.  We have sat under solid, Bible based, teaching, found in others examples of what we were hoping to have in our homes, new books to read that encouraged us in our walk with the Lord and so much more.  But, then our home business started, and it seemed to take over my life and that of our family.  We were being taught at church, but our family and personal growth was stagnating and we began to lose our focus and zeal.

Then the Lord blessed us with Esther, and our lives were pushed out of our comfort zone.  We, once again, had to remind ourselves what we believed about God, our family, our mission in life and find out what God wanted us to do.  I committed myself to daily time in God's word, and praying faithfully for my husband, my children and others.   It's taken a couple of years, but the Lord is once again holding our hands and leading us in paths of learning and growing, and it feels so good and inspiring!  It's exciting!

The past two years I have read so many books that have helped me to solidify my purpose in this life - to bring glory to God, to serve and support my husband (especially in prayer), to raise my children to glorify God and prepare them for lives that are transformed by grace, and to minister to younger women, encouraging them to serve the Lord in their homes.

Last weekend was like getting an energy drink and new glasses at the same time!  We went to the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference for the first time, and oh, how I wish we had attended past ones, but God knew what we needed and when we needed it, and oh, how we needed this!  Here are some of the things I have taken home and am working to put into action in our home now:

Deuteronomy 6: 4 - 7 is the pattern for homes - teaching God's word at all times, in all circumstances, and it is done by the parents.  This is discipleship!  No where in the Bible does it talk about "education".  While being "educated" is important to be a functional part of our society, it is second to a working knowledge of God's word and a relationship with God the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ.  If we pack our children's heads with "knowledge" yet fail to bring them to the throne of grace, we have failed indeed.  All "education" should be saturated with the Word of God, in the context of a God who created this world for us, who loved us enough to make our world amazing and beautiful, that He created us with great minds that can be used to bring Him glory, or to serve the god of this world.  Knowledge without wisdom is folly.

Romans 12:2 teaches us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed with the renewing of our minds - we are also told to take very thought captive, to think on things that are true, pure, lovely and the like.  It is so easy to let our thoughts be filled with what we have been taught in our childhood.  But we must think on what is true - compare every thought to God's word.  How has the world's philosophy, attitudes and beliefs crept into our thoughts.  Are we passing on false teachings?  Are we using the worlds methods of child rearing - behavior modification verses Godly instruction and rebuke.

Do we model a life of gratitude to God, do we handle the Word of God with reverence?  Going to God's Word in times of confusion and trials, or do we "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps"?

It was also shared at the conference that it does not matter what we bring to the table - God is more than able to use us as we are!  He just wants us to do what He has called us to do and He will equip us and His grace will "fill in the gaps"!  He has given us all that we have and we are just presenting it back to Him as an offering.  And in James God promises that if we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask and He will give to us abundantly!  Without reproach (with God there are no "stupid questions!" - don't you love that!)!

So, what changes are we trying to make in our home, now that we have become aware of how much more we could be doing in our homes to bring glory to God?

We are putting the reading and memorizing of scripture first and foremost in our day.  We are going to be studying the lives of great Christians in history.  We are going to try to apply scripture to our lives day in and day out.  We are going to equip our children to think through the filter of God's word, not worldly knowledge.  We are placing our family worship as the most important thing that we do each day - studying proverbs and the shorter catechism.  We are reading Pilgrims Progress together as a family in the evenings instead of watching movies.  And every morning the first activity for everyone is reading God's word and taking time in prayer, individually and together after breakfast.

I am excited to see what God will be doing in our family in the years to come.  I am excited to see what God will be doing in my heart and through our home as well.  I pray that we will not lose our fervor, that we will continue to strive towards further growth in grace, and that we will continue to become Christ-like in our lives and that through us and other families like ours, many more will see God's great design for families.

For further information:
Kevin Swanson was the keynote speaker and has a weekly radio broadcast, he also has created curriculum based on great autobiographies of Christians throughout history, and study guides/devotionals on Proverbs, psalms and some new testament books! -
Christian Heritage was the sponsor of the conference, and you can purchase CD of past classes and soon you'll be able to purchase ones from this one, they also host regional picnics in the fall:

And I'd like to leave you with the hymn we sang at the end (well, others sang while I cried)

A Christian Home
O give us homes built firm upon the Saviour,
Where Christ is Head, and Counsellor and Guide;
Where ev'ry child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho' his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho' days be dark and grim.

O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster,
And praise is natural speech to ev'ry tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor:
Be Thou our Guest, our hearts and homes to share

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pregnancy Loss and Fear - do they have to go hand in hand?

I have had so many women email or talk to me about their pregnancy loss since I posted about Johanna, and I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about dealing with the fear women face when they think about going through another pregnancy after pregnancy loss.

Many women who have experienced pregnancy loss, deal with fear - fear of future loss, fear of personal guilt, fear of death, fear of loss of health, fear of the hardships of pregnancy as they get older, and fear of birth defects (especially those, like Down Syndrome, that have been linked to advanced maternal age).  I'd like to address these fears, especially how it should be viewed as believers.

If you are a believer, then you should know the verses about worry.  I was just studying them in my quiet time this morning (I am doing a book study on "Loving God with All Your Mind" by Elizabeth George.  The Bible has much to say about worry, such as "do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself" (Matthew 6:25-34)and  "do not worry but with thanksgiving in your heart make your petition known to God" (Philippians 4:6)...etc and so many others - check this list out.  

When you struggle with fear, you need to remind you of what is true - "whatever is true....think on these things" is a command!  Remind yourself that God knows your tomorrow, He knows your strengths and your weaknesses.  He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Remember that God is the giver and taker of life - He numbers our days, and those of our children, before even one of them comes to be (Psalm 139:16).  

Remind yourself that God gives strength to the weak, and comfort to those who mourn.  He does all things well, and He never makes mistakes.

Remind yourself that if it is in His will for you to carry another eternal soul, whether or not that child is born healthy and full term, He will give you the strength for each day through the journey, I can guarantee it - if you are living in His strength and not trying to do it in your own strength.

I love this quote I recently heard - "Pregnancy is momentary, a soul is eternal" I heard recently (Doug Philips was quoting someone else, I believe).  What other things can we do in this life that has eternal value?  And remember to, what Paul said about affliction in II Corinthians 4:17 - "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison", and I will openly admit that pregnancy for me would often be put in the category of affliction.  

So many women are concerned about pregnancy in later child bearing years, that it is "risky", that the likelihood of having a child with birth defects increases with age.  Yes, the statistics show this, but you have to remember that God is not bound by our statistics...our stats only show us how God has acted in the past, but He is free to do whatever He pleases at any time.  If He chose, every baby born in America tomorrow could be born with Down Syndrome...He is that powerful.  

I have also heard of mothers who are concerned about their own life, should they become pregnant again.  I, myself, could face this if I were to get pregnant again.  But remember that God has numbered our days before we were born...nothing can take us out of this world "before our time".  We are to take good care of the gift of our life, not to do things to jeopardize our health, but does this apply to pregnancy?  I think not, because I believe that God is the giver and taker of life.  I would rather die carrying a precious soul for my Lord, than live one day longer fearing the "what ifs".  I could avoid pregnancy like the plague, and get hit by a drunk driver tomorrow.  My life is in God's hand, and I choose to trust Him with all that I am and all that I have.   I do believe we are to be good stewards of our health, eating right, getting exercise, taking nutritional supplements, avoiding things that can compromise our health, but even if we are having health issues, God is still sovereign!

What about how hard pregnancy can be, especially in later childbearing years.  But I ask you - should we avoid all things that are difficult/painful?  I put this into the category of a trial, and James says that we should "...count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."  I think this is a great scripture to claim when facing a potentially difficult pregnancy, or when you are in one.  Also, Paul says in Roman's 8:28 "all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a]have been called according to his purpose"  No matter the outcome, we must claim God's promises and apply them to pregnancy as well.  What better thing to bring us to our knees in weakness, claiming God's promises and living in His Strength.  God can and will use pregnancy in the lives of women to bring Him glory, and to bring about good in our lives.  

I know about difficulty carrying babies later in life - I have carried and birthed three babies since I turned 40 (I am 47 now), and when I could not go on, God's grace was always sufficient...I had to make many adjustments (and my family did too) and lower my expectations of what I could do each day, but it was so worth it, every time.  Do I ever fear getting pregnant again?  Yes, I am at times fearful, but I try to catch myself every time I begin to think about the "what ifs", and to dwell on what I know is true, and the fear vanishes.

One last thought about fear/worry in our lives - I have come to believe, that when we worry about the "what ifs", we are taking on tomorrow's problems.  God does not promise that His grace is sufficient for the "what ifs" - but He does promise in II Cor 2:9 that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" and in Phil 4:13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" - He will give us the strength to do what He asks us to do, and the grace needed for each day.  When we worry about the "what ifs" we are facing potential trials on our own...and that breeds debilitating fear - I know, because I have done this, and I do not recommend it at all!  

I recently heard an amazing talk given by Doug Phillips (Vision Forum) and he suggested that it is possible that God uses miscarriage to populate heaven - also that it might be that in His mercy, He brings our little ones into the arms of Jesus before they see this world - they never have to suffer pain, sickness, fear, consequences of sin and all the other evils this world has to offer.  And having our unborn child precede us to heaven also makes heaven a sweeter place that we mothers will yearn for all the more for the hope of seeing our little ones there for the first time!

I realize that I may have stepped on many toes out there, and that what I have shared might offend some.  But I have learned so much through the difficult times that my loving Heavenly Father has brought me through - and many of those difficulties relate to pregnancies.  So many of the truths of scripture can be applied to pregnancy and pregnancy loss if we just meditate on it.  If your hackles were raised by what you read today, take some time and read through the passages I listed here and talk to God about your questions.  I have found in my life, that when something really gets my back up, I am usually either dealing with un-resolved guilt, or have been fighting against God in something He is trying to teach me.

I would also like to share with you, that when I meditate on the truths about God and His promises, fear seems to vanish...I have said before that where there is fear, there is no faith, and where there is faith there is no fear...they just don't go together.  

Philippians 4:6 - 7 pretty much sums this up - "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

Let me leave you with this:

I found this at an Etsy Cart - and you'll find the full lyrics to this song:

And watch to this, but you'd better get a box of tissues first.
(and you might want to get her book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy)

If the Lord asked you to carry a little one for Him, would you do it gladly?

I pray that the Lord will use my thoughts to draw you into the peace of resting in His promises for all the things in your life.

In Christ,


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughtless Thursday

I am really going to try to start blogging every weekday, but Thursdays will definitely be the toughest day for this as it is our "town" day - and we usually have at least 4 appointments to go to, shopping to do, filling up the gas tanks, and other errands to we plan a short school day (only 2 subjects), and I am usually wiped out by the end of the day.

So, my posting, if any will be short and sweet - maybe just some bloggers who do a Wordless Wednesday - any ideas on a Thursday title that would work for short blog posts, or no words....Thoughtless Thursdays might work....

My Sweet Valentine - you can see the afghan I am crocheting for Daryl just behind her....

The results of Monday's early morning madness (remember the fire?) - the bread didn't taste like smoke at all and baked fine even though we had to open the door and turn off the oven right in the middle of baking the bread!  I was able to make 6 gallons of strawberry/raspberry freezer jam (bought gallon buckets of frozen berries from Barbie's Berries - where we pick every year!)

The beautiful sunset night before last

Rachel's homemade volcano...needs work, but it was fun

Esther like the shoes she was wearing today - she wore them a year ago, but now they are getting too small...they are my favorite too - pink and white Mary Janes...