Fall 2013

Fall 2013

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I'm heading home tomorrow after a week on the East Coast. I had great plans for my time away. I was going to blog every day, spend much time with my Heavenly Father, catch up on long neglected emails to dear friends, catch up on sleep, and come home completely refreshed and rejuvenated. If I was going to be graded on my success, I would say that I bombed!
I started a blog post a few days ago, but never got it completed. I did spend time with God, although not as much as I anticipated. Finished an amazing book called "In the Grip of Grace" by Max Lucado (more on that topic another day), got one email sent, went to bed way too late, and woke up way too early (most days between 5-6am). I'm going home as tired as when I left.
But, I did have a good time. I attended a work conference which was very educational. Much info to use in my daily practice. The location was beautiful and the weather was perfect (only one day with a bit of rain). I got to see Martha's Vineyard, Plymouth Rock, Hyannis. My responsibilities were limited to just me (thanks to my wonderful hubby who held down the fort at home). 
And yet, I didn't quite find that peace I was looking for. I didn't see everything I wanted to. Emails and phone calls didn't get made. I didn't feel ready for this time to end because I had "so much" left do so. Silly, isn't it? This evening, I felt God speaking to me so gently. He reminded me that life is a journey. It isn't necessary to check everything off on my "to-do" list. The world is not going to end because I didn't see all the tourist attractions here in Massachusets. 
What matters is slowing down a bit (something I've never been good at) so that I can hear His voice and feel His presence. Stopping to give thanks for the innumerable blessings in my life. Praying for those who have specifically asked for it, as well as those that He brings to mind. Seeing the world through His eyes reaching out to make a difference in someone's life. Recognizing that I can't and never will be able to do it all and accepting that that is ok. And remembering that my dependence on my Savior trumps anything else. So thankful for His grace and mercy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Three years ago

How time passes! Three years ago today, we were in Sevastopol - meeting Matthew for the "first" time as our son. It had been six months since we had seen him and I remember thinking how tiny he was. 

The same and yet, so different!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Thankful Thursday is here and I want to take a moment to just reflect on a few of the many blessings in my life.

- Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with a dying patient. This person asked me what to expect over the next few weeks. I was honest about the physical changes that would probably take place and explained that I would do everything possible to maintain their quality of life while directing interventions that would alleviate their symptoms. The individual was so appreciative of this information that I was humbled by their response. And then, they said something that just sticks with me. I won't share their words exactly, but the message was that they had no fear of death because they were confident in where they were going. The only sadness was associated with how much they had loved the life they lived. What a precious message and something to strive for! I left that visit knowing that something very profound had occurred and that I had just experienced a touch of heaven. I don't know how to explain it well, but I'm so thankful for the ability to make a difference in the lives of my patients and for the difference they make in my life.

- Last weekend, I was having a really hard time - not dealing well with kiddos who were... Shall I say, challenging? By mid-afternoon on Sunday, I was at the breaking point. I had read a blog post that put into words so much of what we deal with, things that are rarely seen by anyone other than Mark and I. To know that there are others out there who "get it" is such a relief. Isolation is something we struggle with and some day are hard. Anyway, I was feeling pretty emotional. I opened up my email to find a note of encouragement from a church friend that was beautiful. God knew how much I needed to hear those words and He must whispered them in Lu's ear because she knew just what to say.

- This week, something happened that I never would have anticipated (and not in a good way). One of those things that just make me go, "why God? What could possibly be the purpose in this? And even if there is a purpose, why did it have to involve someone I love?" Although I don't have that answer, I am thankful that God promises He is with me even when I don't understand. 

- This sweet thing that is wrapping herself around my finger. I love my Miss Lucy!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Choosing an attitude of gratitude

Another week has passed and I haven't been here to update like I want to. I know... I keep saying that I am going to get back on track. The past two months have felt so chaotic. It started even before Maia was in the hospital in February. Up until about a week ago, there hasn't been a day in which at least two of us weren't sick. Mostly respiratory stuff, the kids kept reinfecting themselves and us. Matthew was the only one who didn't end up on antibiotics. Maia and I both get treated for sinus infections. Mark had strep. Needless to say, I am VERY thankful that no one else got it.
It seems like my days off and the weekends have been filled with one thing or another - or we have felt so rotten that we didn't do anything. Between Maia being sick and me being sick, I missed church for three weeks. Last week, we finally went as a family again. What a wonderful thing! It felt so good to be in God's house. Most of the time, the kids are distracting enough that I don't get to hear much of the lesson or sermon. But, just being among our church family and feeling His presence brought joy to my heart!
Work has been absolutely crazy for about three weeks now. As each week has drawn to an end, I think "whew... next week has got to be better." Famous last words. Next week? Maybe or maybe not. In spite of some really challenging situations, I am so blessed to have this job that I love. Are there difficult moments when I wish that maybe I had chosen a different profession? Well, there are moments that I do wish for calm. But, I can not imagine going any place different when I leave the house in the morning. God gave me such a gift allowing me to go back to school and become a nurse practitioner, then work with the elderly.
And if things weren't insane enough, we decided to get a puppy. Not an adult well trained, well behaved dog. Nope, not us! Lucy is now 9 weeks old. And after a week of calm transition, she has decided to let her personality show. Oh, my! We're working on house training, behaviors, crate training - all that fun stuff. Every time, I have had moments of doubt, God has reassured me that she did not join our family by accident. And she IS adorable - lol!
Each night at bedtime, I read the kids a book or two. Then, we have our devotion story and say prayer. I've been trying to help Matthew see that there is always something to be thankful for. He hasn't learned that yet, most days, he can not come up with even one good thing that has happened. But it's also been a good reminder for me. In the midst of the mundane, the chaos, the stress, the sadness, the every day life, I remember that I choose my attitude. I can grumble, whine, gripe... and often, I do. But I can also make better choices. I can stop to see His hand at work in our lives. I can thank Him for His presence in every situation - even the challenging ones. And I can trust that He will guide me and sustain me when I feel like I don't have it in me to go one more step. I am so thankful for a God who is full of mercy and grace, for a Savior who made the ultimate sacrifice for me, and for the promise of the resurrection that we will celebrate on Easter.

Monday, April 7, 2014

We have a new addition!

Meet the new cutie in our house!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I had a vague feeling today that there was something of significance that had happened right about this time of year. And so I went back reading old blog posts. Sure enough...
Three years ago this week, my wonderful hubby got tired of listening to my tears at night and asked me to tell him what I thought about Matthew. I remember lying in bed, afraid to admit what God had been whispering to me. Mark didn't want Matthew to be transferred to an institution, but didn't feel like we were in any position to adopt again. I understood and respected that. So, I took a deep breath and hesitantly said, "I feel like he is our son." Mark told me that because I had trusted him in knowing that Maia was our daughter, he trusted me in knowing that Matthew was our son. And so our race to get him home began.
God was faithful throughout that journey and blessed us beyond measure. Yes, he has stretched us and made us move outside our comfort zone. The past three years have been some of the most difficult of my life. Moments of great joy, others of great sadness and frustration. 
As I looked back at your comments in response to my announcement, one really stood out. Veronica, you mentioned that now we would have no "what ifs?" We didn't have to wonder and worry about what had happened to Matthew. He would join our family as a much wanted son!
And for that, I am thankful! Thankful for the God who heard my cries, my prayers, my begging on behalf of a sweet boy whose face was etched in my heart. Thankful that He has been with us each step of this journey. Thankful for my son and the road to him which officially began three years ago this week.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Putting the pieces of my "puzzle" together with God - a Thankful Thursday post

Have you ever tried to put a puzzle together without having any idea what it is supposed to look like when it is completed? It has occurred to me that when we attempt to get through life and make decisions independent of God, that's exactly what we are doing. 
Often, we convince ourselves that we know exactly how our lives "should" look. Perhaps the edges of the puzzle are our past experiences - the ones that have shaped us into the people that we are today. Those pieces are easier to put together because we can start with the corners and work our way out to complete a basic frame for our puzzle. 
We think we might have a sense of what the final picture is going to look like. So, we begin to search for pieces that might fit together. And some of them do. Sometimes, we even get enough pieces to match so that we can visualize parts of the puzzle. So it is as we grow and mature. Those moments come when you can look back and say, "Ok God, now I understand why such and such happened. I can see why you led me down this path."
But, as the puzzle continues to come together, it becomes apparent that there are pieces missing. And we begin searching for them. Now remember, we don't even know what our final picture looks like! Can you imagine how impossible that would be? Over the course of our lives, we find more and more pieces to add to the puzzle. Some have fit easily together. Other, we have pushed and prodded to fit into place. After all, we "know" how it's supposed to look. And as those pieces go together, we realize that perhaps the picture is going to turn put differently than we had imagined. But, we still can't visualize the end result. And that's where God comes in.
Our Heavenly Father is the Master Builder. He is able to see how each piece of my puzzle fits together. Not only that, God is simultaneously putting together not only my puzzle, but every other person's puzzle as well. And the puzzles that he has created fit perfectly and intricately together. They create a beautiful masterpiece that is beyond anything we can imagine, one that we will only be able to full view when we cross that bridge into heaven. 
In the meantime, our Loving Creator reminds me that I don't need to see the whole picture. It isn't my job to try to put the puzzle together on my own. He asks that I trust Him to place the pieces of my puzzle in my hand. God gently guides those pieces to the right position when I allow Him to do so. By relying on Him to direct my life, I hold the answers to successfully completing my puzzle. And on this Thankful Thursday, I am eternally grateful that His way is perfect and that my life is in His hands.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Well, another Thursday is almost gone. But, I am quite earnest in my desire to get back to blogging again. I couldn't let the day end without sharing a few things I am thankful for today.

- God is truly good! My step-son James posted a quote on his FB page yesterday that went something like this, "Sometimes, the worst times in our lives are what bring us to the best times in our lives." What a wonderful for those moments when you wonder how you can keep going. I've posted before about how God has created beauty from ashes in my life. He's got a LOT of work left to do in me, no doubt. But, His plans are to bless us in ways beyond anything we could imagine.

- Our church has a secret prayer sister program. We commit to praying for our "sister" and can do little things to encourage them throughout the year. I received a sweet card from my prayer sister today that said, "The moments of your day and the needs of your heart are in His hands." Such a comforting reminder of God's presence even in those mundane moments. And what reassurance to realize that He cradles my needs, my wants, my longings, my sorrows, everything about me gently in the palm of His hand.

- This winter has been relentless. It seems like there has been no reprieve, either frigid or snowing. I'm thankful that the days are getting longer and there is an end in sight (at least, I hope so). Looking forward to spring!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

An awww moment!

This afternoon, Matthew asked me to read him the book, "I love you forever." I can never make it through that without getting teary. If you're not familiar with the book, it's about a mom who sings to her son over the years about loving him forever, liking him always, and that he will always be her baby. At the end, the mom is old and sick. She calls her son and tells him to come visit. When he arrives, she tries singing the song, but can't finish it because she is old and sick. The son picks up his mom, rocks her, and sings the song back to her, telling her that she will always be his mommy. He then goes home and sings the song to his new baby daughter.
Matthews told me that when I get old, I need to call him. He will come to my house, pick me up, rock me, and sing the song. He also told me that he will not live across town (like the son in the story), he will live right next door. Oh, sweet boy! This mom was in tears!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I've been awful about keeping the blog updated and I admit... I've considered shutting it down now that our family is complete and we are just living life. But, I also really enjoy writing and sharing both what's happening in our lives as well as my thoughts. I feel like perhaps God isn't finished with our blog yet. So, I am hoping to get back in the groove of things soon here and maybe, there are still a few people out there who are interested. If not, it's ok... I will keep writing for myself.

For tonight, it will be short. I'm feeling yucky. Mark has been under the weather for almost a week. Matthew's emerging from a cold. And hopefully, we are all on the mend.

First, let me say that God is good. I am so thankful for your prayers last week as Maia was hospitalized. We were so concerned that another shunt infection was present. The spinal fluid cultures remained negative for any growth of bacteria and doctors narrowed it down (by process of elimination) to a urinary tract infection. She came home with antibiotics which finished today and I think is finally feeling better. Maia remained a trooper throughout the ordeal, in spite of a nasty reaction to one of the antibiotics.

Matthew is enjoying swimming lessons this evening. He's really doing well. We had quarter end school conferences in late January. His teachers tell us that he is making great progress, meeting his IEP goals. He remains behind his peers, but has come so far. The other night, he counted to 100 for me and loves the counting in Spanish that he learns at Kindergarten Plus.

I'll update more about the kids and what's happening in our world soon. In the meantime, please keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers. My heart aches for the chaos over there.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thanks and Maia update

Thanks to all who are praying for Miss Maia. She was admitted to the hospital last night. Praise God there has been no evidence of a shunt infection. She was started on three different antibiotics to cover just about everything. Had a reaction to one of them today which was absolutely miserable for her. There has been no clear picture of what is causing the infection. Speculation about a possible urinary tract infection and this seems to be what they are leaning towards. I admit, I am a bit skeptical for various reasons, but it may be a case where they have ruled out everything else and don't have anything else to blame.
The white blood count is improved, although still much higher than normal. And we can tell that Maia is not back to baseline because she is not interested in food - at all! Completely out of character for her. We've seen a few people who remember Maia from her last hospitalization and they are excited to see her. 
God answers prayers and He has sent the right people to draw blood and place IVs for our sweetie. Her veins are some of the worst that people have seen so it is miserable for Maia and the lab people both. 
I'm hoping that she will be able to come home tomorrow. Maia is getting a bit stir crazy and I would like all of us under the same roof at night. I spent last night at the hospital so Mark is there tonight. Matthew and I are having a bit of quality time which is precious as well. 
I'll update tomorrow after I know more, but please keep the prayers coming. We know they are effective!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Prayers please

I know... I have been awful about keeping the blog up, but here I am. Asking for prayers for our sweet Maia. We are in the emergency room waiting to hear the plan. White blood count is high and they are testing for a shunt infection. I'll post when I know more.