God Moment

Isn’t it funny how certain things can “speak” to you just at the right time?  Maybe it is a song that you hear and you feel as if the person is singing right to you because the song relates to what you are going through.  Maybe it is a picture that you see that brings back a memory and makes you smile and it is just the picture that you needed to see just at the moment.  Maybe it is a text, card or email that appears at just the right time.  Whatever it is, I think of those as God Moments…..a brief moment that lets you know He is there, hasn’t left and never will.

Yesterday, I was dusting my bedroom and again, pictures were scrolling across the computer screen.  I stopped in my tracks as I watched this group of pictures that popped up.  They were pictures I took of Hannah about 3 years ago holding poster-board signs for a video that I participated in for Down Syndrome awareness.  We were told to write a saying or two that we wished we had known when Hannah was born.  Here are the pictures I took:

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I have to say, I was taken back when I read all three signs.  These were things I would have told myself nearly 9 years ago if I had known what we were facing and lo and behold, they still apply today!  I took these pictures at a happy and uncomplicated time in our life.  I remember taking these pictures and how excited Hannah was to “help hold” the signs.  I miss this little girl! I miss this smile and the joy and laughter in her eyes.  I very rarely right now see “this face.”  But, as I was looking at these pictures the poster-board signs apply even more to our life right now than they did when I took them and even nine years ago.

Don’t be sad, embrace this gift…..yes, there are moments of extreme sadness for me and in all honesty I find myself sometimes praying to God to help me embrace this life.  Hannah is a gift, she is a rare gift that I am extremely thankful for but sometimes embracing the life we are having to live is beyond difficult; but this picture reminds me what I am fighting for, the little girl I want back and the life that we want……right now though, instead of sadness we need to embrace what we have been given; the good and the bad times because Hannah is a gift and so is this life we are living.

You are stronger than you know……wow!  I have to say, this rings more true now than then!  If you had told me even 2 years ago that this would be our current battle, I would have said there would be no way to endure this heartache or fight!  I would have told you that I wasn’t strong enough and there was no way I could do this even with God’s help.  So, far I am still hanging on and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that wouldn’t be possible without the grace of God.

God’s got this…..well, yep He does!  I think that sums this all up!  No matter what we go through, no matter the difficulties, the challenges, the heartache, the sickness, the valley…..God’s got this! He goes before us, we just have to follow.  Let Him lead…..let Him have control…..let Him have our burdens, heartache and grief!  God’s got this.

I needed these reminders…..isn’t it amazing that I was dusting my room at just the right time yesterday to see these pictures…..not amazing…..it was God giving me a much-needed God Moment!

Until next time……..

 

A Reason To Celebrate

In sickness and in health

For richer or poorer

In good times and bad

To love, honor and cherish

Forsaking all others 

As long as we both shall live…….

Many, many people have said these vows or something similar over the years; but how many have really honored these words?  So many marriages end in divorce nowadays; and it is more rare than it used to be to have “made it” 50 years later!

Today, 50 years ago, my parents said these vows and have honored them and each other throughout their marriage.  Have they had rough patches, absolutely!  Heck, they had me, didn’t they?  HA!  I remember growing up mom and dad would have “discussions” and that was their word for arguments or disagreements.  But, I can honestly say in my 42 years of life….those “discussions” were rare and they NEVER once belittled each other, said hateful words, yelled, screamed or cussed!  I am sure the road has not always been easy.  Dad worked A LOT when we were little so mom could stay home.  We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed.  We had a loving home with selfless parents who loved the Lord, their family, church and friends.  I had and still do have very GIVING parents.  Mom and dad give more than they take and they do it with the love of Jesus.

We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but I truly honor and respect them.  The sacrifices they have always made for each other.  The way they have always loved and honored each other and the way that they have always put each other first after the Lord has not gone unnoticed.

The Bible says in Ephesians 5:21-33

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I can honestly tell you that my parents have lived these scriptures and I truly feel that there is no greater honor I could pay them than saying that when I read Ephesians 5:21-33 I think of them and the impact they have made on my life by living the way God told us to if we are married.  They have honored the Lord in their marriage and God has blessed them in many ways because of it.

Today, I honor them and their 50 years of unconditional love for each other.  It is quite an accomplishment in this day and time to make it 50 years with the same person and still be in love! I think this truly is a reason to celebrate today!  I might have to go bake a chocolate cake and eat it in their honor!  HA!

In all seriousness…..Happy Anniversary to you both, mom and dad!  I look up to you and love and respect you more than you know and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it work for 50 years…..let’s celebrate again in 50 more…..we will just call you Abraham and Sarah then!  Just don’t be having any more youngins as that would be gross!!  HA!

Mom and dad meeting the Mouse!

Mom and dad meeting the Mouse!

mom and dad

Until next time……..

I’ve Seen The Hand Of God

god's hand 2

I have seen the hand of God….yes figuratively, not literally; but I have seen it!  In an outcry of desperation yesterday morning as I sat on the bathroom floor crying out to Him; He answered. I begged and pleaded with Him to please give me something…..anything to let me know that He is hearing me and that my prayers are not going unheard.

Yes, I have felt that way quite a few times the last 10 months and especially the last nearly 4 months.  With all the begging and pleading I have done to Him; many times I seem to go unheard; prayers unanswered……and that does begin to chip away at your soul!

Yesterday, I hit rock bottom…..I actually called Dennis about 9am sobbing and told Him I couldn’t do this; I wasn’t strong enough.  He didn’t say much, but he listened and I know he prayed.  There is something to be said for a husband that prays.  A husband that falls on his knees and cries out to God each day.  A man who is not ashamed to say he feels helpless and needs help and turns to the ONLY one that can help.  So, I called my husband knowing he would pray.  I was truly hurting, aching and needing to feel God’s presence and needing something from Him, letting me know He hasn’t forgotten me and left me all alone.

I saw the hand of God yesterday on 2 different occasions.  He gave us answers that we have been praying for.  He used His people to show us that He is here…..He is listening and hearing and He is answering, in His time.  Afterwards, Hannah and I went outside to the pool and with tears streaming down my face I asked His forgiveness for doubting and for questioning Him and His love for us.  I also spent time thanking Him for His answers.  They were miraculous answers and things I number one, didn’t think would or could happen and number 2, more than I had hoped, dreamed or prayed for.

I have seen God’s hand……I have seen it over the last 10 months, but the thing I have to keep reminding myself is it is NEVER in my time…..it is ALWAYS in His!  If you doubt that God hears, if you doubt that God cares, if you doubt that God answers…..I can say with all assurance He does hear, He does care and He does answer!  He works in mysterious ways and gives you SO much more than you ever hoped or prayed for.

If you are struggling, don’t lose hope…..He is there…..I have seen His hand!

God's hand

Until next time……..

 

Longest Week Ever

Today, right about this time marks a week since Henny left our home to go back to Orlando and her sweet Puppy Raisers.  There are no words to say how much we miss her!  This truly has been the longest week ever…..it seems like she has been gone for a year; not just a week.  I think it made the week even longer because Dennis was out-of-town and Hannah’s health declined horribly as well.

I never dreamed I would miss Henny as much as I have.  Yes, Hannah misses her and still asks for her the moment she gets out of bed.  The first words I hear each morning are, “Morning Mommy, Henny here.”  Breaks my heart.  She asks for her continuously throughout the day and keeps asking me to take her to “Lando” aka Orlando; since she knows that is where Henny is.

I didn’t realize until she was gone just how much companionship she was to me.  I know we got her for Hannah to have a companion but she was my buddy as well.  I miss opening the jar of peanut butter and her being sound asleep but hearing that jar open would get her in the kitchen lickety-split!  I have missed her sweet face and those loving eyes that say, “I am at your beck and call; I love you.”

Now, to say I have missed the dog hair or dog breath would be a lie…..I haven’t, although I still find myself vacuuming everyday anyway.  Habits are hard to break.  I have enjoyed going to the bathroom alone because it wasn’t Hannah that would follow me there; it was Henny.  But, to be honest those are just little things that I would gladly welcome back to have her here.

We don’t know how long this will be, but I am so thankful for Marty and Cathy and their willingness, dedication and love for Henny and us to do this, so that one day we might can be reunited with our Henny-girl.  I have received text messages and pictures from Henny each day and it definitely brings smiles and a tear or two each time.  Thank you Marty and Cathy…..we have no words to say thank you for the way you both are still investing in our lives by taking care of and loving our sweet Henny-girl!

This has been a VERY long week and I hope and pray that the weeks after this won’t feel as long; although I do know that we each have a hole in our heart that only Henny can fill!

Henny vet

Until next time……..

I Still Believe

 

Saying this has been a difficult week is an understatement.  I am weary.  I am worn.  I am ready for this “existence” to be over.  I just told Dennis today…..”we are existing, not living.”  That is how I sum up our life right now.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  Our life is full of instability.  There is NO balance. Everything that happens is dependent on Hannah and at this time….she is as unstable as they come emotionally, mentally and physically.

I was folding her laundry today and pictures were scrolling across the computer screen.  They were the pictures of our time in Birmingham after her 3rd open-heart surgery and then of our trip to Disney that friends of ours so graciously sent us on.  I watched those pictures with tears streaming down my face wanting THAT little girl back.  Yes, I would take her heart problems ANY DAY over this!  Her heart is fixable; so far this isn’t!  I looked at those pictures, many of which I have never and will never share to protect Hannah’s privacy but I seriously thought to myself…..that was easier than this; and I will be the first to tell you after 3 open-heart surgeries they never got easier. At least with heart problems, you can pinpoint the problem and fix it; and when you have the world’s greatest heart surgeon…..well, we knew Hannah was in the most capable hands possible all 3 times.  Then, those pictures of her at Disney…..at Wilderness Lodge where we stayed, which by the way, was AWESOME!  At the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios….the smiles, the way her eyes lit up at everything and well, just the magic! It was all just too much for me emotionally today and I sobbed……I WANT THAT LITTLE GIRL BACK.  The one that laughed all.the.time.  The one that smiled constantly.  The one that never cried or got upset.  I want that little girl.  The little girl who had 2 wonderful years at school and rarely got sick……the little girl who had friends, could see and visit with family, could go out to eat.  The little girl who had more energy than the energizer bunny and the little girl who LOVED everyone (except Barack Obama, but that is a different story for a different day).

That little girl is not here right now, but I STILL BELIEVE in a God that can heal her.  I still believe in MIRACLES.  I still believe in God’s perfect plan and perfect will.  I still believe in GRACE, MERCY AND HOPE.  I still believe.  I will hold onto that, even if we don’t get that miracle we are praying for.  I will hold onto that even if we see Heaven’s gates before we get our little girl back.  I will hold onto that even if we never get answers.  I still believe and nothing and nobody will ever take that away.  I will always believe in a God that sacrificed everything for each of us. I believe in His unconditional and unending love and I believe that He has a plan and a purpose for everything.  He never promised us an easy or comfortable life.  He never promised us riches, big houses or nice cars.  He never promised us good health.  What He did promise us was life everlasting if we believe; and I believe!  My faith, as hard as the last 9 years has been, has never waivered and it never will.  Yes, I get discouraged; I am human…..but I stand fast, firm, unwaivering…..because I know and I still believe that the Lord Jesus is holding us in the palm of His mighty hand and He will never let us go.

So…..yes, this is hard…..this is just existing……this feels hopeless at times…..but,

I still believe

Until next time……..

Thank You

When I started this blog back in the summer of 2012, it was to document our journey with Hannah’s third open-heart surgery and a way to keep our prayer warriors updated.  I had no intentions of continuing to blog but I did enjoy it so much and it became a way to document our life and an outlet for me as well.

I have had some wonderful followers and comments over the past 2 years and it is shocking that anyone wants to read what I write.  I laugh sometimes because I truly think our life would make the most BORING reality show!  So, why would anyone care to read about it?  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that you do and it is a great way to stay in touch and keep people who want to know about our life updated.

Today, though I feel thankful for the love, thoughts, prayers, support and encouragement that have been shown this week and so I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all who have called, texted, dropped me a note, messaged and Facebooked me.  This has been such a difficult week for us, with sending Henny back to stay with her Puppy Raisers and now, today watching as Hannah is regressing again after completing another round of her treatment; the encouragement that I have received has been so thoughtful and needed.

I try to always be transparent and real on my blog and I won’t lie, this has been an extremely difficult week.  This journey, the past 10  months has been nothing short of a nightmare that continues to worsen and this week kind-of hit an all-time low with Henny leaving and Hannah regressing.  But, your words of encouragement, love and of course your prayers keep me hanging on, although right now it is by a thread.

None of us knows the path in which our life is going to take.  I would have never dreamed that this would be my journey and quite frankly, if God had given me the choice between options A, B or C….well, I might have chosen B or C.  But, we don’t get the choice in many things, but how we deal with them, when they are handed to us is what matters.  I am not saying I deal well all the time.  The fact is, I don’t deal well all the time.  There are days that I am angry, bitter and resentful.  There are days were I am sad and grieve and there are days when I am happy and have more strength than usual and feel more equipped to embrace this.  The thing is sometimes life just isn’t fair and we would rather be on a different journey.  But, what is nice is when you are at the bottom of the valley and people come along and encourage you and lift you up…..it keeps you going, pressing on and not giving up.

So, today I just wanted to say THANK YOU!  Thank you for walking this journey with me and as my friend Angie used to say as she was in the fight of her life battling cancer…..”Thank you for standing in the gap for me.”  Never knew how much that meant until lately.  Having people stand in the gap praying, encouraging and supporting you…..well, it means everything!

thank you

Until next time…….

 

 

 

Goodbye For Now, Sweet Henny-Girl

I sit here absolutely HEARTBROKEN!  I just put Hannah to bed crying and saying “Henny no bye-bye, come here,” and now I sit here (the self-proclaimed cat-lover) crying like a baby as I type this.  THIS SUCKS!  There is just no other way to describe it.  This is just another disappointment in this journey we are on right now!

We made a very difficult decision a few weeks ago to send Henny back to Canine Companions for Independence.  The good news is as of right now, she is being “fostered” by her Puppy Raisers who live in Orlando.  Dennis left this evening to head down there.  He has a conference there this week so it worked out for him to drop Henny off on his way.  Being that Henny is being “fostered,” if we can get Hannah all well and back to her old-self, then this gives us the option of getting Henny back. So, this goodbye is not necessarily permanent; although it feels like it is.  At this time though, this is what we had to do.

Making this decision was something that Dennis and I didn’t take lightly.  We weighed all the pros and cons and we actually took longer making the final decision than we should have.  Hannah just couldn’t deal with having a dog right now and Henny was not being utilized for what she was trained to do.  Companionship was our MAIN reason for getting Henny and right now, due to Hannah’s illness, the companionship was not happening; not because of Henny but because of Hannah.  So, Dennis and I knew we had to do this, but it was such a difficult decision.

Calling Canine Companions for Independence was not easy and even harder was calling Marty and Cathy, Henny’s Puppy Raisers.  I cried like a baby on both phone calls.  Fortunately Mari, from CCI and Cathy were gracious, understanding, supportive, encouraging and loving!  Their main goal was first what was best for Hannah and second what was best for Henny.  We knew this was best for them both.

Still……not easy.  I feel like a failure.  I feel like this is just one more thing that we couldn’t get right.  I feel sad, heartbroken, disappointed and like I let a lot of people down at CCI, Henny’s Puppy Raisers and Hannah!  This parenting thing can really stink sometimes…..especially when you feel as if you are making decisions that are breaking hearts and letting those you love and care about down.

So, I watched my little girl cry tonight as she was going to sleep and as she said her prayers, she prayed for Henny to “come here”.  Nothing worse……just another reason I should not get the “Mother of the Year” award anytime soon!  UGH!

Cuddles with Hannah!

Cuddles with Hannah!

We made this decision as much for Henny as we did Hannah.  I do know that Henny was stressed out and that wasn’t good for her.  I have been so consumed by taking care of Hannah, the last 3 months especially, that I haven’t had the time for Henny that she needed or deserved.  I know we made the right decision for now; but that doesn’t help the heartache at this point.

I already miss her…..after I would put Hannah to bed; Henny would come in the den with me and put her head on my lap for me to pet her.  She would then go get in her bed and snore like a freight train……I think I am going to miss that sound tonight!

Hey mom....I love you!

Hey mom….I love you!

Well, there you have it…..another sad and depressing blog post!  Would you 3 people that actually read this blog start praying that I can start writing about happy things?  Geez…..I even get more sad and depressed when I proof read my own blogs!  Something’s gotta give…..soon!

Photo-bombed by Hannah

Photo-bombed by Hannah

We love you sweet Henny-girl!

We love you sweet Henny-girl!

Until next time……..