The Old Rugged Cross

As I sit here this morning thinking about what today means for ALL of us, I can’t help but stand in awe of what today truly represents.  The fact that God sent His ONLY son into this world to die for me, so that I might have eternal life…..the ultimate sacrifice; the ultimate gift of unconditional love!

My sweet Grandpa’s favorite song was The Old Rugged Cross; it was even sung at his funeral.  Grandpa loved to sing, everything from silly little songs to hymns, but the Old Rugged Cross was his favorite.  I remember many times sitting on his lap as a child and him singing that song to me.  I didn’t really understand what the song meant until later in life and it has become my favorite hymn.  The words…..so simple, yet they have such a powerful message of hope for us, God’s love for us and the grace that He so selflessly extends to all of us!

If you don’t know the words…..here they are…..read them and know that because of that old rugged cross, because of Jesus dying on it and because he rose again……if we believe, we can one day trade that old cross for a crown!

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him, should NOT perish but have everlasting life!  John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him, should NOT perish but have everlasting life! John 3:16

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Sometimes I Wonder

I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I wonder what Hannah would be like if she were “typically developed.”  I seriously have nothing to “judge it” by since Hannah is my only child.  I really don’t know what the “typical” milestones are for a child without any disabilities.  It is when I see a child that is Hannah’s age that I realize just how far behind she truly is.  I mean…..the thought of not having to sit in the bathroom with her when she is going potty or bathe her or check on her ALOT when she is playing in her room because I am afraid she might be putting something in her mouth and choking….well, honestly the thought of not having to do those things would be nice!  I think about trying to explain “stranger danger” and simple things like crossing the street or how some things are really dangerous….you know, like trying to pick up a snake in the yard or why we don’t just run outside and jump in the pool….simple things like that!  I have said before that you just can’t “explain” things to Hannah…..simple phrases, 2-3 words is all she can really understand at this point.  I can even look at children MUCH younger than her and go “WOW”…..I can’t believe a 3-year-old can carry on a conversation!  AMAZES me and yes, makes me sad in a way too!

Again, don’t misinterpret this post, as I am thankful everyday for Hannah; she has accomplished so much and she is exactly who she is supposed to be…..exactly the way God created her!  I am thankful!  There are some things that I don’t have to deal with that most parents do.  For example….Hannah doesn’t “talk back.”  She doesn’t whine or complain, heck, even when she is really sick she is smiling and happy!  The only time she cries is when she is in pain and even that is rare as her pain tolerance is UNBELIEVABLY high…..a blessing from God especially after having gone through 3 open-heart surgeries!  So, I am not complaining, but sometimes I do wonder.

I wonder what it would be like to carry on a conversation with her.  I wonder what it would be like for her to be totally independent when it comes to going potty, bathing herself and getting dressed.  I wonder what it would be like for her to really understand who Jesus is and the sacrifice that He made on Calvary.  For her to understand what is happening in her body when she is sick or when she has to have surgery.  I wonder…….ALOT!  I wonder if she knows what the words “I LOVE YOU” really mean.  Does she know just how much she is loved?  Does she understand how mine and Dennis’ world revolves around her because we want the best for her and love her to the moon and back?

Today, I have caught myself “wondering.”  I think in some part due to the fact that I am having surgery on Tuesday and I won’t be taking her to school or picking her up.  I won’t be bathing her, fixing her dinner and putting her to bed.  I wonder if she will be okay with that or will she wonder herself what is going on?  If, by some chance that my surgery doesn’t go as expected and I end up being in the hospital for a couple of days…..how will Dennis explain to her that mama is okay and will be home soon?  Because, I wouldn’t want her coming to the hospital to possibly be infected by germs.  I don’t think that is going to be the scenario, but I do wonder….what if!

Anyway, those are my thoughts today……just in wondering mode.  Sometimes writing it out gives me a new perspective.

Since I know that blogs are boring without a picture…..here is one of me and my sweet Hannah……

Hannah, my sweet angel, my heart!

Hannah, my sweet angel, my heart!

Happy Saturday!  Have a great day today!  Until next time……..

Sick Little Girl, Cancelled Vacation and Surgery

I wish I could say that Spring Break has been fun, but it hasn’t!  Hannah came down with what I thought was a head cold Sunday night and has progressively gotten worse.  Finally, yesterday I took her to the doctor and her exact words were…..”WOW, sweet Hannah has a MASSIVE sinus infection.”  Oh joy!  Thankful for doctors and the God-given wisdom they have!  Hannah is now on antibiotics and we are praying she will feel better really soon!

Because of Hannah being sick we had to cancel our vacation.  Originally, we thought we would be in Orlando this Easter weekend for re-certification with Henny.  We were only given a 60 day certification (this is the certification we need to take Henny anywhere we go) when we left CCI back in February.  That date is now in April, so we thought, since Dennis already had the time off we would head to Atlanta to see some of our best friends, they are more like family to us than friends though.  So, our plan was to leave yesterday and come back Sunday evening.  Unfortunately, we have had to cancel…..makes us so sad, but we know it’s the best thing for Hannah and now for me too.

The other news we received yesterday was that I am scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.  Nothing like telling me that I must have surgery and only giving me 6 days to plan!  HA!  I am a planner, organizer….in the words of my sweet mom…..”I have to get my ducks in a row.”  Six days does not leave me much time to do that!

I went for my yearly OB/GYN exam last Friday and my doctor found a “mass” on my left ovary.  He is unsure what it is…..most likely just a cyst, but because I have been experiencing quite a bit of pain and discomfort and since the mass is so large, he has decided the best thing to do is remove it.  Heck, who needs ovaries anyway…..I’m done with mine!  HA!  He will probably have to take the whole ovary out since the mass is so large and he said that since he is “in there” he will take a look at everything just to make sure all is okay.  His plan is to send the mass to pathology to make sure that there is nothing to be concerned about, but most likely it is just a cyst!  So, now I have to “plan.”  I am a “plan-ahead” type person, so even though it is outpatient surgery and all should go smoothly, I have to plan for the unforseen……today, I will be spending time deciding what to do with Henny, making a daily routine and schedule list for whoever will be taking care of Hannah, planning meals so I can cook this weekend and freeze and even writing down the recipe for Hannah’s smoothie that she drinks each day…..I just “eye” it, and Dennis will need exact measurements.  I will also be organizing all her medications and writing them down….yes, even for Dennis as I don’t believe he has ever “drawn-up” her medications before….he has given them, but I don’t think he knows what she gets and when she gets them……stuff I have just always done.  So, let panic-mode begin…..NOW! HA!  Just kidding…..I am not going to panic, I am just going to do what I do best…..MAKE LIST after LIST after LIST!  LOL!

So, that has been our week, not the way I wanted or planned to spend our Spring Break, but it is the way God planned it and frankly……He knows best and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Prayers appreciated if you think about it on Tuesday…..that the “mass” is just a cyst and that everything goes smoothly so I can be home ready to take care of my family again!  I have never been away from Hannah and I really don’t want this to be the first time!

For those on Spring Break…..enjoy rest of your week!  We are home and we are going to enjoy cuddle time as a family!

No Privacy, Juicing It and Hannah’s Funny Face

One of the MANY differences that I have noticed between a dog and a cat is a dog is like having another child where a cat is like having another adult in the house!  Oh.my.goodness!  There is absolutely zero privacy between Henny and Hannah for me!  Okay, this might seem weird, but yesterday I was in the bathroom and I had my cell phone with me……was that too much information?  Oh well!  Anyway…..who follows me?  Not Hannah, but Henny……I snapped this picture of Henny waiting for me……

Really.....absolutely no privacy to even use the bathroom in peace!

Really…..absolutely no privacy to even use the bathroom in peace!

She seriously will follow me everywhere I go……I think if I jumped off a bridge, she would be right behind me!  HA!

Well, my life consists of juicing now……I juice anything and everything and the benefits for Hannah have been nothing short of miraculous!  It makes quite the mess though, especially when juicing wheatgrass but it is so worth it for Hannah’s tummy to feel better!  She is drinking and loving her wheatgrass, flaxseed, spinach, carrot, blueberry, pineapple, grape and prune juice smoothie everyday!  She thinks it is ice cream, but there is nothing but the above mentioned items in it!  She drinks 10-12 ounces of it and always wants more!  So thankful that this is working for her tummy issues!  Here is a picture of the mess I make while juicing wheatgrass!

Messy but worth it!

Messy but worth it!

A couple of weeks ago, one of Hannah’s teachers took a picture of Hannah and tagged me on Facebook with it.  I find it absolutely hysterical with the face she is making…..thought I would share it today…..

Love this funny face

Love this funny face

Hannah loves her school and her friends…..so thankful for the friends that she has there and for their families!  The parents at the school are the BEST!  So thankful to have them in my life and the life of my little girl!

I guess that is all for now…….it is Spring Break and Hannah woke up sick this morning…..AGAIN.  I am praying it is just allergies, but I am thinking it is more than that!  We have BIG plans for this week…..hoping and praying we don’t have to cancel!

 

World Down Syndrome Day….March 21st

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.  3-21 is to represent the 3rd chromosome on the 21st chromosome.

Today I want to say thank you to all the people who love my sweet Hannah.  She is downright perfect if you ask me and rocks those 3 chromosomes!  She is loving, compassionate, happy and sweet.  She has a precious personality and truly lights up my life!  She is smart and does the things any “typically developed” child does, she just takes a little longer to do it.

Down Syndrome is not a curse, it is not a “bad” thing and it is not something that you “can catch.”  Although, there are people in this world that think all those things….unfortunately, I know some of “those” people personally…..but I digress because this isn’t about them!

Today we recognize the “special” people who look at the world through rose-colored glasses…..I for one, appreciate their honesty, tenderness and loving hearts and souls!  I thank the Lord everyday for my sweet Hannah……she is my life and she is perfect just the way God made her!

Sweet baby

Sweet baby

Hannah and Maw Maw

Hannah and Maw Maw

Love her

Love her

Love this smile

Love this smile

So happy

So happy

Beautiful blue eyes

Beautiful blue eyes

Happy girl with pigtails

Happy girl with pigtails

Praising Jesus!

Praising Jesus!

My love, my life, my sweet little gift from God!

My love, my life, my sweet little gift from God!

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Thought you would like to see a picture of Henny after her bath yesterday…..she looks thrilled, doesn’t she?  But, the end result was a clean-smelling dog…..who doesn’t love that?!?

Seriously......you want to take my picture after you just tortured me?

Seriously……you want to take my picture after you just tortured me?

I took a couple of pictures of Hannah and Henny yesterday…..apparently, Henny needed ANOTHER check-up from Dr. Hannah…….Henny truly is a good sport!

Gotta check your ears Henny!

Gotta check your ears Henny!

Hannah listened not only to Henny's heart, but her tummy, her head and her back too!

Hannah listened not only to Henny’s heart, but her tummy, her head and her back too!

Sorry about my Semi-Wordless Wednesday….don’t know how bloggers blog with no words…..HA!  Until next time……

On The Defensive, Going All-Natural/Organic and Henny Gets a Lecture

Last week was a really bad week personally…..I found myself on the defensive constantly; whether I was defending Hannah or Dennis it seemed to be a battle last week with everything.  My blood is still boiling about some of the circumstances, but I am trying so hard to “consider the source” and “let it go.”  All of that is easier said than done though.

I will go on the record right now and say one thing…..before you attack someone’s character and integrity have ALL the facts.  Don’t blame a group of people on another person’s mistake, or “alleged mistake.”  My husband is probably one of the most HONEST, HONORABLE, and LOYAL people I know.  He is a man who loves the Lord, loves his family and works hard!  Nobody has the right to judge others…..PERIOD!  Nobody has the right to take a good man’s name and try to trash it.  As I told the individuals last week……you mess with my kid or my husband I will come out fighting!  Okay…..in Forrest Gump’s words…..”that is all I have to say about that.”

Well, for the last 3 months (actually almost 4) we have been dealing with Hannah and ALOT of tummy issues.  I am not going to go into detail on this blog as some things need to remain private (you’re welcome dad).  But, I will say, after filling her tiny body up with Miralax, Milk of Mag, Mineral Oil, flaxseed and Suppositories (all adult doses more than once a day for 3 months) and getting NO WHERE…..I finally took matters in my own hands.  I spoke with several people at Hannah’s school who encouraged me to try juicing and going all-natural and organic; including using fresh wheat grass.  I knew I had nothing to lose and everything to gain; so I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond on Thursday and bought a Nutri-bullet and loaded it up with spinach, pineapple, red grapes, strawberries, blueberries, flaxseed and wheat grass.  Hannah drank this “smoothie” Thursday night with no results, although she LOVED it and wanted more.  So, I gave it to her again Friday night.  I was supposed to give her a “colon cleansing” on Saturday which would have consisted first of a suppository and then a mixture of 7-capfuls of Miralax mixed with a quart of water.  I really didn’t want to go that route, but we had to do something.  So, I thought if this “smoothie” didn’t work by Saturday morning, I would do what I had to do.  Well, lo and behold Saturday morning after breakfast the smoothie had worked!  PRAISE THE LORD.  Saturday night she drank another smoothie and Sunday morning it worked……Sunday night she drank another smoothie and this morning IT WORKED!  Whoo-hoo!  This has been the most stressful 3 months for me and for Hannah and I am actually seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  She does go to the GI doctor on Wednesday to have an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound done and I am praying that there is nothing physically wrong; but at least we have things working again.  With all of that shared, the point I am making is we are going all-natural in our home.  For a long time now I have been wanting to get rid of all the processed foods and eat just fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains and lean meats (with the occasional steak thrown in there), but with all Hannah has been through with her tummy it has finally made me do this.  God bless Dennis for being willing as it isn’t a “fun” way to eat, but it is necessary for our family.  I have finally decided to look at food as “fuel” instead of “pleasure.”  I LOVE to eat, but really eating is for one purpose and that is to keep us alive……my new motto is I eat to live not live to eat!  So, here is to healthier days ahead.

On a funny note……we are always telling Hannah before she goes to school and when she is in trouble to “listen with her ears, obey and behave.”  We also tell her that makes “mama and dada happy.”  The other day, I had to give Henny a “physical correction,” all my CCI peeps will understand that.  Usually Henny doesn’t need correcting and if she does most of the time a verbal correction is all that is necessary, but the other day it wasn’t enough. As soon as I gave Henny the physical correction she immediately did what I told her to which was to lay down.  Hannah was standing there and she pointed her finger at me and said, “mama, wait.”  Then she got down in front of Henny grabbed Henny’s face in her two hands (like we do to Hannah) and said to Henny, “Henny, listen with ears, obey and behave, make Hannah happy.”  I started laughing so hard.  Hannah looked up at me and said, “mama…..Henny sorry.”  I lost it……I haven’t laughed that hard in so long.  I wished later that I would have had my cell phone right there so I could have snapped a picture.  It was truly the cutest thing!  So, needless to say…..Hannah is “hearing” and “understanding” Dennis and me when we tell her something!  She has been SO GOOD lately……I am watching her grow up and become a sweet, loving, obedient little lady and it makes the last 7 1/2 years worth it!  I am not going to ever sit here and say that it has been easy, because it hasn’t and there are days that I wish that things were different…..but, watching her grow into this little lady that loves Jesus, Dennis and me, her school and her friends…..well, it takes some of that pain away that I feel everyday.  I have said before that my heart hurts ALOT…..I think in some ways, it always will…..but, I am just trying to cherish everyday…..even the days that are the hardest!