What I Learned From An Egg

I hate eggs.  The way they feel, taste and smell.  Everything about an egg is disgusting to me and I absolutely refuse to eat them.  I use to refuse to cook them, but of course, thanks to one of my best friends in Atlanta that fixed them for Hannah one morning for breakfast, guess what she wants every morning to eat?  Yes, nasty old slimy “aborted chickens.”  I have always called eggs that.  They make me gag.  Okay, none of that is the point of this post but I needed to get that out!

I was making eggs for Hannah this morning, she likes them scrambled and while cooking my brain was in overdrive.  All I was thinking about was life and how stressful it was.  As I cracked the egg it dawned on me how very fragile an egg is.  You don’t have to hit the egg too hard to crack it and once it is cracked it takes very little pressure for all its “guts” to come running out.  Then, you have nothing left of the shell except broken-ness and it cannot be put back together…..ever!  Remember Humpty Dumpty?  But, if the egg is hard-boiled, it will still crack but the inside is soft, tender but yet, still held together.  Even if some of the white pulls off with the shell, it will leave an indention, but the egg itself is still intact.

I compared my life to an egg, I know so weird!  But, that is what happens when the highlight of my day is cooking breakfast and my mind is going 90 to nothing.  I don’t want to be like a regular egg that the moment I go through any pressure and “crack” that there is nothing to hold me together.  I want to be like the hard-boiled egg that no matter what difficulties or challenges arise, when the pressure cracks me; I will still remain intact and together.  Everyone of us will have cracks in our life, some of them unrepairable but how we handle those cracks, that pressure and those stresses is what matters.  Will we crack, break and have nothing left to fight with like a regular egg and the damage be too great to fix or will we crack, maybe even break but still have a firm foundation that keeps us going?  I want to be a hard-boiled egg, I just don’t want to eat one!  HA!

Seriously, sometimes the things I think about make me wonder if it might be time for that straight jacket.  I think with the Lord as our foundation; when we truly do our best to trust Him no matter what our circumstances are then we will be that hard-boiled egg.  I think, without Christ, life for me anyway, would be that of a regular egg and I would crack, break and would never be able to withstand anything life threw at me.  So, yes…..I am comparing life with and without Christ to an egg!  I know, I told you it was weird!

Now, none of this is EVER going to get me to eat an egg, but it does make me look at eggs differently now; although they are still nasty and disgusting!  What kind of egg are you?  A regular egg that cracks, breaks and falls apart or one that cracks, but doesn’t allow the pressure and cracks of life to get to you?  I’m going to trust the Lord, knowing that His plan is perfect and His ways are not mine; but in the end it is all okay because He wins…..no matter what!  I don’t know about you, but that keeps me going!

None of us are without cracks in our outer shell.  I just want to be hard-boiled on the inside!

None of us are without cracks in our outer shell. I just want to be hard-boiled on the inside!

Until next time………

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Re-Examining My Heart and Update on Hannah

Psalm 34:18-19

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

I had to step back for a few days from everything; blogging and Facebook especially (actually I am still away from Facebook for the most part, but that is a different post for a different day).  I needed to re-examine my life and heart.  I was allowing bitterness and resentment to creep in and was getting very angry.  In full disclosure, I still am angry, but I am working on that.  I think if there was someone to blame, all of this would be easier; but there is nothing and no one to blame for all that is going on with Hannah and the challenges she is enduring.  I could blame God, but why would I do that?  It isn’t His fault….yes, He allows things to happen and He knows everything that is going to happen, but what would it say for my faith in Him, if I blamed Him and got angry at Him for it?  I will always say that He has a plan for everything and I know I have to continue to trust that and trust Him, and I will!  But, with that said, it doesn’t make it easy and there are days that I don’t know if I will survive it all.

I never want this blog to be a place for me to “complain.”  Heck, no one wants to read the words of a complainer.  I want it to encourage and frankly I haven’t felt like encouraging lately.  I have felt alone and withdrawn; some days drowning in my own circumstances.  I will say this though, after lots of thought, prayer, and some screaming and yelling, I think God has allowed me to get to this place I am right now.  A place of being alone; a place where I have no other choice but to fully rely on Him for everything.  From the reason to my existence to being everything that Hannah and Dennis need me to be.  I don’t have much else left to give; but I know God will give me the strength I need to give to the 2 of them and that is my responsibility, my job and my privilege.  I have to focus right now and concentrate on the 3 of us (yes, 4 if you want to include Henny in that).  So, that is what I am doing.

People say all the time “give it to God, trust in Him, pray about everything and leave it with Him.”  Well, I believe all of that but until you are truly put to the test, it is so much easier said than done.  I believe it all, but I am just human.  I will give it to Him and yes, at times, take it back thinking I can do a better job with it and then give it back to Him and the cycle continues.  God knows we are not perfect and He knows that it, at times, will be a wrestling match that He will eventually win!

Life is extremely challenging right now to say the least.  Dennis and I are in a place we wouldn’t wish on anyone; even our worst enemy.  Hannah is now 5 months into this “unknown illness” and she is getting worse.  We met with one of her specialists yesterday and I think he finally realized that her condition was deteriorating and has decided now is the time to do some invasive testing.  We have been dreading this for her, but it has to be done.  Over the next few weeks Hannah will be going through some unpleasant testing, hopefully to get to the bottom of what is going on.  I am, for her privacy going to leave it at that and not go into further detail.  One of our biggest fears is anything that involves anesthesia and all of these procedures do.  Her heart is a huge concern when it comes to anesthesia.  So, if you think about it, please pray for her over the next few weeks.

All-in-all these last 5 months have been, for lack of a better word, HELL on earth for the 3 of us.  We just want answers and prayerfully, in the next few weeks we will get some.  At this point, I just want to know what the problem is and of course, how to fix it.  Hannah has done so well, for the most part these last 5 months.  But, she is sad at times.  She misses school and her friends.  She asks about each of them, including her teachers daily.  It breaks my heart for her as all she knows is that she is sick and can’t go to school until she is better.  It is also so sad to know all that she could be doing and can’t because of her sickness and as a mom, that is ripping my heart out on a daily basis!

So, that is the update and that is where I am personally right now.  We covet your prayers for answers and we are trusting that God will reveal them in His time and that one day we will look back on this experience and realize just why we went through it.  I can tell you this though…..I am ready for this season to be over!

special needs journey

broken places

My prayer is that He is using me…..I don’t want all of this pain to be in vain!

Until next time………

When The Walls Close In

Have you ever had one of those weeks where the walls surrounding you start closing in?  There is nowhere to go and no one understands what you are going through.  Where you are suffocating because of circumstances that are SO far out of your control and there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to get control of them?  If you are a controlling personality, like I know I am; then when this happens it truly sucks!  How do you deal with the walls closing in on you?  I would like to runaway; but obviously I can’t and haven’t.  I will say this, if it weren’t for my  unconditional love for Dennis and Hannah, I might be deemed a flight risk.  HA!

I am truly having one of those weeks, although if I were completely honest…..I would say the past 5 months have felt like this.  Some days the walls aren’t near as suffocating and I can breathe easy; but wow, this week has proven to be VERY difficult.  I have tried so hard to remain positive the last 5 months…..thinking, okay, this will be the day Hannah wakes up without a fever and/or this will be the day that her tummy problems are no longer an issues.  Yet, I wake up everyday to Hannah having fevers and major tummy issues.  She seriously sits on the potty 3-4 hours each day in pain; crying and telling me “it hurts.”  The fevers get just high enough for her to feel like she has been hit by a Mack Truck and her energy level is non-existent.  I am so heartbroken for her….she can’t even be a “normal” child with Down Syndrome.  It is bad enough that she has to deal with the hardships that come along with that extra chromosome but then to not even get to be a kid; to play with her friends and go to school; well, it is just too much!  I can sit here and cry and scream how unfair this all is (and trust me, I have done that), but it does NO good!  Once you are done yelling and screaming nothing has changed, except that now you have a massive headache!

I did have another yelling match with God today…..didn’t do anything but make me have to ask forgiveness (although many hours later).  At least I got the opportunity to yell at someone other than my poor husband who gets the brunt of it all!  Heck, I even cussed at him this morning, not that me saying a bad word is really much of a shock, it was just the word I chose to say that made his jaw drop.  I’m not very well-known for keeping my mouth closed and frankly I am known for expecting the unexpected to come out of my mouth!  Dennis is on nights this week and I think I blew my gasket enough that he realized I might go postal so he sent me out to the grocery store and trust me that felt like a freakin’ vacation!  Of course, the poor girl at the pharmacy made the mistake of asking how Hannah was doing (yes, we are on a first name basis at the Publix pharmacy) and I on-loaded on her!  At least I didn’t cuss at her though…..HA!

I guess these type weeks are to be expected but holy crap I just wish it would get easier for a little while.  I have begged God many times each day to give Hannah a break and selfishly, to give me one too; but as I told Dennis this morning for some reason He hasn’t chosen to answer that prayer of mine at this time.  So, what do you do?  You keep pressing on knowing that there is a God that loves you and cares about you more than anything and you hold onto His promises that He will never leave you or forsake you; even when at times, it feels like He has!

So, as I have been told by a good friend lately……time to put on my big girl panties and suck it up!  Thankful for friends that tell you the truth no matter how much you don’t want to hear it!

By the way…..if you have tried to get me this week via Facebook, text, email or phone and you haven’t heard back from me, please don’t hold it against me.  Right now it is all I can do to take care of what is in my 4 walls and holding them up so they don’t cave in on me!

This made me laugh and right now, SO VERY TRUE of me!  HA!

This made me laugh and right now, SO VERY TRUE of me! HA!

Until next time…………

One Year Dog-Anniversary

Well, today marks one year since Henny officially became a member of our family and we brought her home from Canine Companions for Independence.  I cannot believe that it has been a year, as it has gone so fast.  Isn’t that the case though?  The older you get, the faster time flies!  I sure miss our “family” at CCI…..the 6 other families we went through training with.  I think we should have a reunion every year.  Unfortunately, 3 of the families live either in North Carolina, Arkansas or Alabama…..so getting together is not an easy task.  But, I am so thankful for the 2 weeks that we shared…..we started out as strangers and became instant friends!  So thankful for them and that time together.  Also, I cannot leave out our trainers……Jen, Mari and Lori became family too…..they laughed with us and AT us (especially me for some reason), and they encouraged us, supported us, cared about and cried with us!  I am forever indebted to each of them!

I NEVER in a million years would have thought that I would own a dog, much less have one that lived inside my house……be careful what you say NEVER to!  HA!  I have said it before and I will say it until the day I die…..I am a “cat person” through and through, BUT……I do have a very soft spot in my heart, life and soul for HENNY!  She is absolutely the sweetest, most gentle, most easy-going, loving and very WELL trained dog I have EVER known.  No other dog could have won me over like she did…..she is the PERFECT dog for us, and especially for Hannah!  The things that she has done for Hannah this year…..well, are quite frankly unbelievable!  She has provided companionship, which we have really needed the last 5 months.  She has helped “bridge the gap” with Hannah and typically-developed children and has helped Hannah develop her vocabulary and talk more than I ever dreamed possible!  Hannah’s speech improved 200% this year alone, thanks to Henny!  So, we definitely made the right choice for Hannah and well…..if I can bring myself to admit it…….for Dennis and me too!  You should see Dennis and Henny together…..I have to say, every guy needs a dog…..they are really sweet together!  Here at home I say that I am Henny’s “boss” or “pack-leader.”  Hannah is Henny’s “person” or “best friend, ” and Dennis is Henny’s “play-toy.”   HA!

I cannot end this post without once again giving a shout-out to Marty and Cathy, Henny’s Puppy Raisers……YOU both are the reason we have the sweetest, most loving and well-trained dog!  We are forever grateful for the investment you made in our life because you decided to raise a puppy, pouring your heart, soul, time, money, effort and energy into that bundle of fur to turn around and give her away, after falling head-over-heels in love with her!  You did all of that SELFLESSLY for a child you didn’t even know that needed a best friend!  You did ALL of that for us and we are forever in your debt!  We love you both!

To all the CCI Puppy Raisers out there…..I am fairly certain I can speak for ALL the recipients here…..THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for investing in our lives and making a difference!  Exceptional dogs for exceptional people…….thank you for your vision, your willingness, your selflessness and your desire to see “differently-abled” people lead better and more productive lives with the help of a dog that you raised!

Thought I would leave you with some pictures from our 2 week experience last year at CCI Team Training!

"Henny-girl"

“Henny-girl”

Best friends!

Best friends!

Some of the sweetest kids I have ever had the chance to meet!

Some of the sweetest kids I have ever had the chance to meet!

Lots of love!

Lots of love!

Henny and her favorite people on the planet.....Marty and Cathy!

Henny and her favorite people on the planet…..Marty and Cathy!

Hannah and sweet Eleanor!

Hannah and sweet Eleanor!

Hannah and Henny

Hannah and Henny

Until next time………

My Dearest Hannah……I Wish

My dearest Hannah…..my heart is so heavy today; it actually is broken for you and it literally hurts.  I so wish you had been dealt a better hand, that you weren’t asked to bear so many burdens and that this life you were given was easier.  I wish these fevers would go away and I wish you didn’t spend 3+ hours each day on the potty in pain.  I wish you could tell me where it hurts and understand that I am doing everything in my power to make it better.  I wish I could take it from you……even more I wish I could fix it all.

Here is what I wish for you my precious angel:

I wish you weren’t sick all the time.

I wish you could go to school to learn and play with your friends.

I wish you had friends that you could have playdates with, hangout with and have slumber parties with.

I wish I was busy running you to school, dance, piano lessons and soccer practice.

I wish you didn’t require 12 hours of sleep each night because of your heart.  I wish your heart was perfect and you never had to have 3 open-heart surgeries.

I wish we could do simple things like actually go inside Chick-fil-a to eat instead of always going through the drive-thru.

I wish we could go shopping together and get mani’s and pedi’s.  I wish you and daddy could go on “date nights” and we could go out as a family and do fun things.

I wish you could have a “normal” life and do the things that most all kids get to do.

I wish we could go to Sunday School and Church somewhere without the risk of you getting sick so you could learn about Jesus and how much He loves you.  I know we teach you at home about Jesus, but I wish you could enjoy worshipping Him like other children in His house.

I wish people didn’t stare at you and always ask “what is wrong with you.”  I know people are curious and they don’t understand but for once I wish people would treat you like any other child.

I wish you didn’t have to be on a special diet so you could enjoy some of the foods you love so much like ice cream, pizza and mac-n-cheese!

I wish you didn’t have sensory issues and impulse control issues.  I wish you didn’t need Occupational, Physical and Speech therapies.  I wish you didn’t think going to the doctor was “fun” and “exciting,” since it is practically the only “outings” you get!

I wish you could communicate and share your heart, your feelings, your hurts and your joy!

I wish you could grasp just how very much your mommy and daddy love you and how we would do anything for you and fix ALL of this if we could.

I wish you knew how much joy and happiness you bring to us.  How you make us laugh and how your smile and personality light up our home.

I wish even more that you could understand your Heavenly Father’s love for you.  How He made you EXACTLY how He wanted you to be.  That you are PERFECT in His sight and that NOBODY is any better than you.  Your almond-shaped eyes, your curved ears, your tiny little nose…..your small hands with the straight lines across each palm and your little toes that have wide spaces between each one.  From your head to your toes…..you were created by GOD and YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY made!

All of the above are not in God’s plans right now……I don’t know why and I don’t have the answers but, I do know that God knows and I know in my heart that He has a purpose for everything He has asked you to endure.  I wish we could get you well and keep you well and that you could live a more “normal life,” but that isn’t to be at this time.  I just want you to know that I hurt for you, I PRAY for you and I have hopes and dreams for you that NO ONE will ever take away.  I know God has BIG plans for you and He is right now working it all out through you.  Everything you are dealing with right now is building your strength, your grace, your character and molding your heart for Him.  I love you, baby girl……you are mine and your daddy’s heart and we wish nothing but God’s best and perfect plan for you!  Never forget that you were created for a purpose and that there is nothing that God will ask of you that He won’t help you get through.

My wish and PRAYER for you is that you LOVE Jesus……if you do that then NOTHING else matters……NOTHING!  That is the most important thing!  Love, trust and put your hope and faith in Christ…….if I teach you nothing else that is what I want for you!

I am so sorry you are having a difficult time, your whole life has been a fight…..one that you have fought so much better than I ever could.  I admire you, as you have taught me so much.  Keep fighting, stay strong and continue to do it with JOY!  I wish so much for you, my angel…….I love you to the moon and back as does your daddy!  You are our heart, our life……our everything!

IMG_2306aUntil next time……….

UGH, Valentine’s Day

I will admit, Dennis and I neither one really celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I do recall the year we were dating that he sent me a dozen red roses to work and he almost had a coronary when he found out how much he was spending on something that was going to die less than a week later.  Just for the record, I have never received flowers for any occasion since!  HA!  I also received a beautiful necklace our first year of marriage, but other than that we might give each other a card, and he has been known to run to Peterbrooks and get me some dark chocolate covered potato chips (don’t knock them til you try them)….SO YUM!  But, we really aren’t into celebrating Valentine’s Day.  We both agree that you should show your spouse or significant other that you love them every day.  Dennis is WAY more “loving ” than I am……he is very much a hugger and he never fails to tell me that he loves me MANY times each day.  I don’t ever recall a time hanging up the phone with him without hearing him say, “I love you.”  He has made me more aware of saying it too.  I am not an “I love you” saying person.  Even if I love you, you won’t hear me tell you often.  But, I have learned with Dennis and Hannah to tell them both, each day.

The other day Hannah out of the blue said to me, “Mama, Valentine Day party…..chocolate popcorn.”  Oh my!  Where did she hear about Valentine’s Day and why does she think there is a party with chocolate popcorn?  There are several problems here…..first, Hannah is still not back in school so having or going to a party isn’t happening.  Second, if she hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have remembered to at least do her classmates Valentine’s Day cards for Dennis to drop off.  Thirdly, Hannah is now on a dairy/casein free diet which means she can have the popcorn but not with the chocolate which she requested.  So, here I am trying to figure out how to make Valentine’s Day special for her without a party, without her friends and without chocolate?  Geez, thought I was going to get to skip this holiday, but alas, that isn’t happening.

So, yesterday we cleared off the dining room table and made each of her friends in class a Valentine’s Day card, which she loved doing.  Fortunately I had construction paper, markers and heart stickers.  I also happened to have some unopened candy in the pantry that we included with each one.  Thank goodness for that candy craving I had while shopping at Publix a few weeks ago.  I also texted Dennis and told him to swing by Target because I knew Pete The Cat had a Valentine’s Day book out and Hannah LOVES Pete The Cat, so I told him to buy that for her as a gift.  I have to run out tonight so on my way home I will stop at Publix and buy popcorn and dairy free/casein free chocolate ice cream.  A pint of that stuff will set you back almost $6.00 but she will love it and it is the only chocolate that I know she can have on this stupid diet.  Although, the diet seems to be helping her tummy problems so I will not complain.

I really get so tired of all these “stupid” holidays.  I know, I know…..so many people LOVE these type days, but I just do not!  Lately I have trouble remembering birthdays much less getting out of the house to buy cards and gifts. But, somehow, someway Hannah heard about it…..now I have to make it all happen!  HA!  But, that is what we do, right?  As a mom, my job is to make special days……well, special, so I will do my best to do that even when I don’t feel like it.

So, for those of you who celebrate…..Happy Valentine’s Day……I will be celebrating with these 2 here since my true love has to work all day and night tomorrow!

Kisses are the best!

Kisses are the best!

Until next time………

Back To The Land Of The Living

Holy moly!  I was just bragging a few weeks ago that I was so shocked that I hadn’t caught any of Hannah’s numerous illnesses (2 bouts of bronchitis, 1 sinus infection, 1 head cold and strep) over the last 4 1/2 months.  I was quite pleased that I had stayed well this whole horrible sick winter….well, that was until last Thursday!  UGH…..I started feeling bad….you know the stuffy head, congestion and throat irritation.  Then, on Friday, it started getting worse but I was in denial because there was no way I could be getting sick.  By Saturday, the fever and coughing started and by Sunday I.WAS.MISERABLE!  Finally, I was able to go to the doctor on Monday who diagnosed me with walking pneumonia.  OH JOY!  I don’t have time to be sick and of course my greatest concern was Hannah catching it.  As of right now, she hasn’t…..KNOCK ON WOOD!  Of course, I made every effort to stay out of her face and I carried Lysol around with me spraying everything in sight!  The worst part of it; besides the hacking, snot and choking cough was the NOT sleeping!  I still haven’t slept well.  I finally, last night slept in the bed waking up only every 2 hours in a coughing fit.  The doctor put me on antibiotics (gotta love that Z-Pack), and a coughing pill which in my opinion was nothing but a placebo.  I downed all of that with a few shots of Nyquil last night so I am thinking that is why I “slept” as well as I did.  Waking up every 2 hours is an improvement from waking up every 15 minutes.

I feel SO much better……other than the lack of my much-needed, very beloved sleep I actually functioned normally today catching up on the laundry, cleaning some and helping Hannah catch up on school work and make Valentine Day cards for her classmates at school.  She hasn’t gone back to school yet, and I will not send her until we can get to the bottom of these fevers!  But, I still wanted to make sure her friends at school knew she missed them like crazy!  Hannah’s doctors know that Hannah’s body is trying to fight something, we just can’t figure out what.  Because of her body fighting it is using ALL its resources to fight off whatever this is, so when she gets around germs and infections, her body just cannot fight them off like most people can.  I am still praying that she doesn’t get what I just had, but I seriously washed my hands until they were raw and sprayed Lysol like I owned stock in it!

So, all of this to say…..I am back to the land of the living!  You don’t know how great you really feel on a daily basis until you are really sick!  Makes me very thankful for my health and even the days that I don’t feel “great,” anything is better than this past week!

Stay warm, bundle up, use hand sanitizer, wash your hands constantly, wear masks everywhere you go, never leave your house, don’t touch anyone, don’t breathe……doing all that you might and I say MIGHT stay well!  HA!

Until next time……..