Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I got this scripture and short explanation today from someone with whom I've talked at great lengths with on this subject. This was awesome and eye-opening for me. What I see is , the truth is the truth regardless of who believes in it and who doesn't. The truth just is and it doesn't rely on belief for its existence. It IS not relative to our own personal belief system. It just is. Truth is truth. Period.

here ya go,

In my study I came across these scriptures and I thought I would share:
I Corinthians 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Paul is proving the point that we have talked about on many occasions. Just because your conscience is clear does not mean you are innocent. Or just because your "convictions" are not as mine are does not give you a scapegoat to sin. Many people have had their conscience seared because they chose to override it and not listen to the truth of God's word. So our convictions mean nothing unless they are in line with the Word of God.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Jilly Bean

When I was pregnant with my second child, somewhere towards the beginning of my second trimester, I went in for a routine Dr's appointment. I can't remember now exactly why but the doctor decided to do a sonogram. I was excited because I had been anxious to find out the sex of the baby. I found out that day that I would be mommy to my second little girl. That was also the day that my pregnancy turned a corner from normal, to turbulent. During the sonogram the nurse noticed that one of the baby's kidneys was significantly larger than the other. She called the doctor in and he looked at the screen for a while, then explained ALL the possible scenarios, but said that he wanted to send me to a maternal fetal specialist to look closer.

I made an appointment that day before leaving the doctors office. When my husband came home for lunch, I told him that we were having another girl. He was very excited but I started crying as I explained about the kidney. He was worried but was very comforting and assured me that God would help us get through whatever it was.

That week we were praying about baby names and trying to see what we liked. We couldn't seem to find one thing we agreed on. On a Sunday morning while driving to church, I said "what about Jillian? Jillian Faith?" Nate, my husband, loved it immediately. Since names are a big deal we wanted to wait to see what Jillian meant. We knew that Faith was the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. Imagine our delight when we looked up Jillian and found out that it meant regenerate. The definition of regenerate is- cause a complete spiritual or moral reform in. 2.To effect change. 3.To restore a body part by the growth of new tissue. 4.To be born again spiritually.

We knew that name had been whispered in our ears by God Himself!

The day I went to see the specialist was very difficult. I was scared and worried about what they would tell me. They asked very in depth questions about family history and then I was taken to have a sonogram. I laid on the table for nearly 2 hours as they examined every inch of Jillian's teeny body. At the end of my visit they explained that they did not know exactly why her kidney was so much larger and said that usually with one birth defect there were others. They listed off at least 7 possibilities. They suggested I undergo a series of tests to find out what was going on so that I could make a decision whether or not to terminate my pregnancy. We knew in our hearts that was not an option and so we didn't feel we needed any further testing. We did however agree to continue seeing them for the in depth sonograms. It was important that we monitor the kidney and her growth, as they had also noted she had short femur bones.

At my next appointment with the maternal fetal specialist Jillian's kidney looked about the same but they were concerned that my amniotic fluid was so low. I was not put on bed rest, just told to take it very easy. So I took it as easy as a mother of a 3 year old could. My fluid was lower still at my next visit, around 25 weeks, and I was told if it got any lower that I would be admitted to the hospital. So, I slowed down and drank alot of water. Around 30 weeks I began going to my regular OB 2 times a week. On Tuesdays they did a non stress test and on Thursdays sonograms were done to monitor my fluid They did both things because the baby was so small and not growing or moving much. For the non stress test I would have to lay there with a monitor around my belly and push a button every time I felt her move. Several times she barely passed.

I went in for an appointment a few days after Christmas, just shy of 37 weeks and during my sonogram they were very concerned that Jilly wasn't making the proper breathing movements (apparently the babies "practice" breathing in utero.. I never knew that!), so they sent me to the hospital. There I was monitored and it seemed that Jillian had started moving as she was supposed to but that my fluid was at a 2 ( extremely low) and they were getting concerned with her other kidney. My doctor decided that they would go ahead and induce the Tuesday after New Years. I was put on bed rest and my parents came to help take care of Emma.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 Tuesday morning and pitocin was started at 8. It was a looong day. I started having mild contractions, but they were not hard enough to do anything. Things went on like this until around 7:00 p.m. I sent my husband and parents down to eat. As soon as they walked out of the room my contractions started HARD and out of no where! Little did I know that this would be Jillian's way of doing things forever. I called my husband to come back up. I got an epidural half an hour later and went to sleep. A nurse came in and checked me around 10:30 and informed me that the baby was crowning, so I pushed 3 times and out she came. Small and.. quiet. She didn't make a peep until they rustled her a little with the towel. Then she quieted down again. She weighed 5lbs 8 1/2 oz and and was 17 inches long. The first thing noticed was her little feet. They were swollen. We had a team from the NICU there and waiting and I heard all kinds of scary words like, "nuchal fold", "Down's syndrome", "hydronephrosis". A time that should have been filled with joy was filled with fear. Thankfully, Jilly Bean was well enough for me to nurse her right then. While she did have to stay in an incubator in the nursery, she never did have to go to the NICU like we originally had thought.

When I was settled in my room and Jillian in the nursery undergoing tests, we had a doctor come talk to us. That was the first time we had ever heard the term, "Turner Syndrome". We had no idea what it was and it was explained to us that if the tests confirmed Turner's then Jillian would be shorter than average and infertile. "OK", we thought, "well, being short, that can be hard, and infertility, that's sad. But we could deal with it. "

Wow. We had no clue.

In the next few months and even still we have learned so much more about TS (Turner Syndrome). TS only affects females. Girls and women with TS are missing part or all of an x chromosome. It is true that girls with TS are almost always very short and infertile. Typically the girls are treated with growth hormones to help them reach a "normal' height. Later they begin Hormone Replacement Therapy to help them grow breasts, regulate their periods and other things related to puberty. But it doesn't end with shortness and infertility. Girls with TS can have a mixture of problems ranging from swollen feet to hearing and vision problems, diabetes, and so much more including major heart defects and death as a direct result of complications from TS. Every girl is different in the variety of symptoms. Since Jillian's birth we have learned that 98% of fetuses with Turner Syndrome do not make it to term. TS accounts for 10% of miscarriages. Our Jillian is among the 2% that survived!

Jillian's case is mild in comparison to some that we have known and heard of. She has the lymph edema (swelling) in her hands and feet, making it very tricky to find shoes that fit. When she was 11 months old the kidney that first sparked concern was removed. She has had chronic ear infections and has a slight heart defect. There are many other small issues that we deal with.Things that we would typically write off with our other kids, we have to watch closely with Jill to make sure it doesn't develop into something serious. We visit Arkansas Children's hospital several times a year in several different departments for various monitoring.

But in spite of all that, we feel that Jillian has defied odds and overcome obstacles. She is a strong, healthy, feisty and hilariously funny little 2 year old. She keeps the family laughing! She loves to color, swing, slide and play with sidewalk chalk. She adores her big sister and her baby brother, Nathaniel, is her biggest fan. She started growth hormones about a year ago. She gets a shot every night and will continue to until around 10-12 years of age. It was hard at first but now she hardly notices unless we have interrupted her play time to give it. Now she even "holds" the shot device and counts with us when we give it to her. We have seen AMAZING results and the doctors at ACH say she is doing "better than average"!

TS is just one part of Jillian's life. While we will always be open and honest with her, We don't want Jillian to be identified by TS. In our minds, all of us have obstacles in our lives. Some are physical, some emotional, or spiritual, etc. We want to teach ALL of our children that their identity is in Christ. That they are who HE says they are, they can have what HE says they can have, they can be what HE says they can be. We want to equip them with the tools they need to overcome those obstacles. To learn that these obstacles do not have to defeat them and that they can trust and believe God for ANYTHING.

Our lives are blessed because Jillian and her sister and brother are in it. Any challenge, any obstacle, any heart ache is worth the joy they have brought to our lives and the lessons they have taught us.

I wanted to write this article to bring awareness to Turner Syndrome. When we first found out about Jillian we were clueless, scared and desperate to relate to someone on the topic. We were fortunate to find out at birth about Jillian's diagnosis. Several women do not find out until their cycles become irregular, they can't conceive or any other assortment of seemingly unrelated circumstances. Because the symptoms of TS are not restricted to TS and can affect women and even men for that matter, who do not have it, often TS is not suspected until many other options have played out. A woman who has been trying to conceive and cannot may write it off as infertility. But perhaps with awareness of Turner Syndrome, she and her doctor would be able to put together her short stature, thyroid issues and even vision problems along with the infertility and make the connection. I believe that by making people aware of Turner Syndrome, we can save so many women agony, depression, pain, financial burdens and poor quality of life. The sooner TS is diagnosed the better chance treatment options have of being successful.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The fair makes me feel sick...

Tonight has been... an emotional night. My mom and I took the kids to the State fair where my husband was working his company's booth. my cousin and her husband met us and Emma rode rides and the little ones stuffed their faces with "fair food".

Ok, well we all stuffed our faces with fair food... but I digress...

So Emma had a great time and was happy and cute and agreeable.

Until she disagreed.

So tonight we get home and she's all cranky and crashing down from the sugar high. She starts in on the whining and the arguing and the crying and yada, yada yaaadaaa!

And I am just tired. Frankly, just exhausted and spent and at the end of myself. I have no ideas left and even if I did, I haven't the energy to execute them. On nights like tonight is when the fear really rises. I feel so overwhelmed at trying to 'get through" to Emma. Sometimes it seems like we have been pounding the same exact rules into her head for 6 years. Our battles have revolved around the same issues for as long as there have been issues. It is something that makes me feel like a pitiful failure. The fact that we are still here, going over the same exact things that we have been over time and again. i get scared that something is wrong with me, that I am too stupid to say things in a way that she will understand, not creative enought o get the point across. Or even worse, I get scared that something is wrong with her. That she simply doesn't have the mental capacity to understand what I am saying. That things are not connecting in her head. Maybe it is simply that I am inconsistent.
I do not want to have a stereotypical relationship with my daughter. I do not want her to hate me and I do not want us to fight. I want her to love me and for us to get along. But right now, I know it is important that she respects me and that she knows I will be consistent. She has to know where I stand and where she stands with me.

Guess I'm just figuring out exactly where that is. It's just a shame that we have to learn so much together,a s I was really hoping she would learn from my mistakes. I mean, she would have alot of material to choose from, right.

I know it will be ok. I pray for grace and mercy and strength and ENDURANCE.

.. Just needed to blog it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My mama and your mama was sitting by the fire...

A few days ago I was sitting with my mom and we were talking about... my kids (as always) I mentioned to her how for the first couple of years of my first child's life my parenting style was the "not-like-my-parents-raised-me" style. I told her how my thinking has changed and I realize that hers, and dads and my step-dad's style wasn't ALL bad. And that it is quite possible that they did some things well.. maybe even..right. She asked me. "when did you realize what you were doing and what made you change your mind?" I said, " I don't know exactly, but I think it was when I realized that my way wasn't all right either.. and that I needed ALOT of grace!" So, I continued to think about it that day and a few days after and I just know that.. they did their best. The worked with what they had and what they knew and they did their best. It wasn't all right, but it certainly wasn't all wrong. Looking back, there are some very painful memories and situations, but the good far outweighs the bad.
In my short career as a mother, I have got to experience so much with so many women along this road of motherhood. Some older than me some younger and every area in between. I have friends with 1 child and I have friends with 5. Some of my friends adopted children outside of their race and some are in a biracial marriage and have biracial children. Some are very organized and structured and others are more spontaneous and messy. I have cried with my friends when they miscarried. I have rejoiced at the announcement of a pregnancy. I have stood in shock at the announcement of ANOTHER pregnancy when a friends baby was just months old. Many things I have lived second hand through my friends and their children. It has been just over 9 months since my friend Tressa's baby died in her sleep at 5 months old. Our family and several other families stood and prayed as Baby Averie came into the world weighing 15 oz and displaying a spirit of strength I have yet to experience anywhere else. We watched as she made her journey through several NICU's and finally to her home here in Arkansas. It was my pleasure to watch her parents grow with her and step into their role as parents. We sat with them after Averie passed and experienced their faith in an amazing God, regardless that their worst nightmare had just come true. Although I only experienced it secondhand, it was the saddest thing I ever encountered. Averie's mom has been nothing but encouraging to those in her sphere of influence. She knows that to shrivel up and cease to exist would not do justice to her daughter, much less her God. She is STILL a mother. Just because she and her sweet baby are temporarily separated, that is not any less true. You can't stop being a mother
A couple of nights ago, we were out to dinner with our best friends. They had brought along with them their 6 month old son. As almost all babies do,(unless he is the near perfect baby of my friend Heather ;) ) he began to cry as soon as the food came. We juggled the baby back and forth trying to keep him happy, but the little guy was so sleepy! Finally his mom put him in his infant car seat and begin to jiggle the seat with her right hand and attempt to eat with her left hand. I watched as this mom put her son before herself, and I was struck again and what a huge job we have as mothers.
When my middle child was 11 months old, she had to have a major surgery to remove one of her kidneys. I made sure all the post-op appointments were scheduled and we did everything we were asked to do. We were there early and waited until past her scheduled op time to finally go into surgery. Afterwards, I went back and held her little body and rocked and sang and sang and rocked as she slowly came out of anesthesia. I spent that night on a most uncomfortable hospital chaise, laying on sheets that felt like plywood, only not as thick. When she woke up sick at 2 in the morning, she and I slept together, entangled in cords, in a chair beside her bed. I finally went home around 10 in the morning when my husband came to take a shift. I went home to shower and sleep for about 45 mins before I went back to my baby. There would be no keeping me away. We were finally released to go home, and it wasn't until that night when she was safely asleep in her bed that I fell apart. I thought my heart would explode. I do not know how I kept it together that long. I just know that that is what mamas do.
My friend, Felisha is fun-loving and patient with her kids. Tammy is wise and resourseful, seeing opportunity for learning and self-improvement in all kinds of situations. Gabriela is cultured and curious about other parts of the world, she passes this curiosity along to her children. Jasson likes to keep her kids as active as she is. My own mother is extremely creative. Give her a spool of thread, a rock, a jar and a marker and see if she won't come up with something incredible. My cousin Amanda, listened to her heart and did all she could for her son, giving him every chance, even though some told her it was hopeless. She tried. She DID EVERYTHING she could think of. Because she is a mom and that is what moms do. We do not quit or give up when it gets too hard. There are so many more of you, too many to list, but if you are reading this, then you're one of them.
I write all this to say; We are all mothers. Or we have a mother. I have so enjoyed learning from all the moms in my life. I have learned techniques and prayers and discipline strategies and recipes and so much more. Thank you all. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you and admire you. I appreciate what you do. Because what you do is your best. And you know what?
It isn't a competition. We are raising our children as the next generation. We are raising children who will be the next firemen/football coaches/attorneys/doctors/grocery checker/pastors/computer gurus/entrepreneurs/ and so much more. And we are raising future moms (and dads). We have an opportunity to show the next generation that teamwork is the key to success. Rather than picking one another apart or putting down a child because we are insecure about our own or in the way we are arising ours, lets point out the positive and rally together to help someone who is struggling. Sometimes it is a matter of humbling ourselves and saying, as I often do, " I have NO CLUE what I am doing, I am flying by the seat of my pants!" Not to mention, as soon as I start thinking what a good job I have done and how well-behaved my kids is, it will be my son who pulls down his shorts in the grocery store and screams, "HEEEEY! I gotta ding dong!" The Bible says, "Take Heed (be careful) when you think you stand, lest you fall". That means, " girl you better step down off that high horse before your pint sized comanche knocks yo butt off! Cause its a looong way down". I speak from personal experience, unfortunaetly.
As we encourage each other and share one another's pains and joys, our children watch and see that we are on the same team. Even though every child is as different as the parents raising them, they WILL need one another. They will learn how to work together by watching us extend encouragement... and grace.

Because, we know that each is doing the best she knows to do.

I love you ladies!!

Friday, August 1, 2008


... So, I am being pulled. Out of my comfort zone. Into a place that I have been before and hated. Into a place that I fight with everything in me to go into. But I KNOW that I am supposed to go. I KNOW I am being stretched. And already the tugging, the buffering has begun. And it does not feel good. I do not feel better just knowing that HE wants me here. I feel nauseous. Literally sick to my stomach. Knowing that it is a spiritual battle and that if I submit, I will come out better in the end, does not make it easy to do so. It is still difficult. It still goes against my very nature. The very nature that HE gave me, mind you.

STILL, God isn't glorified by accomplishments reached in my own strength. It is such that I cannot boast in myself, only HE gets the credit.

Oh, Amazing Grace. I'ma need it.

I fight the urge to give up. But doing so leaves me... here. Not a place I am content to stay in. No pain, no gain, I guess.

I need to humble myself and remember that it's all for Him and that I'm here to serve that purpose which HE's called me to.

Monday, May 19, 2008

NOT the real thing...

Last Friday, I dropped Emma off at the school she will attend next year. They have kind of a "trial run" where you can take your kids for a couple of hours and they experience a taste of what a typical kindergarten day will be like. She was so excited! When I woke her up that morning she said... " I have to wear these right?", referring to her p.j.'s. You see, when we went to tour the school for the first time a few months ago, they were having pajama day. I guess she thought she would always wear her p.js to school. :) She also said to me, "I guess I'll just sleep in the car". This was the perfect time for me to explain, again, why it was important that she sleep at night and not sneak around playing with her toys.

So, I dropped her off at 8:30. She went with the school secretary with only a little hesitation ( Emma has ALWAYS been my most cautious child). And then I turned around, and walked away. It was easy not to cry; I knew this wasn't the real thing. Besides, I had two squirmy kids in the stroller who were hollering to get out. I ran some errands around town. It was only a couple of hours she would be there, and I didn't want to drive all the way back to BV, just to turn around and come back.
I got done with my errands early and headed to the school. The secretary had told me that she would go to recess the last part of her day. So, I went to the parking lots behind the school, where I could see the playground. I parked there to wait and watch and sip my coffee. I scanned the playground that was swarming with kids. At one point a group ran out of the door. It made me think of when I was little and used to go around stomping on ant hills so I could see them scurry out in a frenzy, wondering what had happened to their home.
Then I saw her. I recognized first her little girl gait. She has a particular walk that is only hers. She runs with a bounce and tosses her hair when she's talking with her friends. It's a trait invisible to anyone but her mother. And as I watched, my eyes filled. I saw that she was just fine. She was swinging and climbing the jungle gym, running with new friends. My mind filled with images of the infant who came into the world with a little caution. Slowly peeking out of the birth canal, and returning to her comfort zone until she was sure she was ready. And when she came she was loud and demanding and the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. I was convinced there had never been a baby so beautiful and perfect. Ever.
I saw the baby with chubby thighs, and stick-up hair. With beautiful blue eyes filled with adoration for... her daddy. :)
I saw my two year old who was speaking sentences and recalling stories with shocking accuracy.
The 3 year old who was now a big sister and singing on stage in front of hundreds of people.

And now, all of the sudden... she is a little girl. Independent and beautiful and brilliant.

As I watched, I felt like the ants. I have spent time working and hauling and climbing, to build a safe place for my most precious treasure. And time has come, with it's big, fat foot and squashed my safe place. And my baby ant is eager to begin building her own hill. I felt powerless to protect her. I have spent so much time protecting her from every physical danger I could think of. And I missed a few along the way. Despite my best efforts, she fell and got bruised and scraped. But it always healed, with a little time, a kiss, occasionally a little more. But NOW, NOW she will be out from under my nearly constant watch. I won't be there every minute to catch her, to kiss the bo-bo's.
However, it's not such much those bumps and bruises I'm concerned about. It's the ones on the inside. The ones that aren't so obvious. I am not naive enough to think that she will never experience heartache or ridicule. But my heart aches when I think of it. That there will be kids who make fun of the way she walks,talks, looks, smells, reads,runs etc. I know that she will learn words and phrases and songs that I don't want her to learn. I know that she will have to use her judgement on what is right and what is wrong. I know this. I've always known this day was coming. But I just can't believe it's here. There is so much that I wish I'd done differently. So much I wish I'd said. So much I wish I hadn't said.
I know, that I have to let go of her. I've done it before. I can do it again. I know that only God can truly protect her. Nothing I do can protect her like He will. I KNOW this. I do. Sometimes my heart has a hard time hearing what my head already knows.
I drove around to the front to pick her up. I had to go in since they still weren't in from recess yet. I thought she would be upset that I had come to get her. But She came, with no fuss. She came back to the arms that she was familiar with. Where she knew she was safe.

We took a quick peek at some baby chicks that had JUST come out of their eggs.

And one little egg. With a small hole. This baby chick was taking her time. Pecking away, slowly and... cautiously. Sticking out only the tip of her beak, as if to get a small whiff of the outside world before she returned to the warm womb.
I looked at my little chick, watching with curiosity and eagerness. I watched as she handled the other baby chicks with a tenderness that touched my heart. She looked up at me with her big, blue eyes, and smiled. "They're so precious", she says to me. " Yes, they are. It's amazing isn't it?"
And with one last glance over my shoulder at the baby chick still pecking ever so carefully at her shell, we turn and walk out.

... But I didn't cry.... cause I know this isn't even the real thing.....

Friday, May 9, 2008

The significance of CRUMBs...

In answer to your unasked question, my reason for titling my web log crumbs is: It is probably the noun, and at times the verb , which best describes my present life. By definition a crumb is:
1. A very small piece broken from a baked item, such as a cookie, cake, or bread.
2. A small fragment, scrap, or portion: eraser crumbs; not a crumb of kindness for you.
3. The soft inner portion of bread.

Slang A contemptible, untrustworthy, or loathsome person.

v. crumbed, crumb·ing, crumbs v. tr.
1. To break into very small pieces; crumble.
2. To cover or prepare with very small pieces of bread.
3. To brush (a table or cloth) clear of small scraps or fragments of food.

v. intr. To break apart in very small pieces: a solid cake that won't crumb.

So, if you know me at all, you can see how everyone of the previous definitions applies to me, right? Crumbs... or "crumbing" are all a matter of perspective...
With 3 small children under the age of 5, I have become increasingly familiar with crumbs. The ever-present reminder that I am never alone, not even in the bathroom. The "crunch" that reappears over and over and over after I have swept the floor countless times. It crackles in my ears and grates my bare feet... like the constant nag that time is precious and the years are flying by. The crumbs are proof, that I have in fact done something with my life, most likely the greatest contribution I will make to this world. . .

I spend a good sized portion of my day "crumbing". When I see the crumbs that litter my floors and furniture I am filled first, admittedly, with ... aggravation. " WHY, for the love of swiffer, can't they eat over their plates?!" But then almost instantly, I am filled with dread and anticipation, joy and hope, all at the same time. For I am realizing that these short 18 years, 20 if I'm lucky, are just that. Short. I am realizing that these little crumb-snatchers that have become my everything, my world, my purpose, my whole reason for existing, are only here for a little while. Like the "very small piece broken from a baked good", that is what I have of them. Just a small portion of their hopefully long spans of life.
It is my prayer .. that I do not despise the crumbs. That I will take my OWN crumbs, the most important bits of my life, the most significant moments, the wisest words, the joy of simplicity and share them with my children. That they would grind into the fiber of their beings and stick to their hearts like the pb&J presently stuck to my white sock. I want to be " the soft inner portion of bread". An easy, gentle, warm, fulfilling place for my children to fall.

And it is my prayer that I will put away my broom and dustpan and make crumb cake with my kids.

It is my hope for you... that you will enjoy the crumbs I share with you here, but even more so.. that you will learn to enjoy your own crumbs.