Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye 2017, Hello New Year

Every year there's this hope involved with the beginning of a new year. It's the feeling of one year accomplished, another gained. The possibilities seem new and fresh. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't. This year feels like another one that I get to love my family and so I'm grateful, but I've not created too many grandiose ideas of what I might do in the upcoming year. I think it's great to have goals, but I plan to keep mine simple and to keep loving my family purposely in thought and action. I don't think that I've got it all figured out, but I can rest in knowing that God has gone before me and his will is mine. I started thinking about writing this post. I love a good recap of a year passed. But when I started thinking about what we've gone through this year, I was drawing a blank. Our kids grew so much this year and that was the focus that came to mind. Our focus is them. Less of us. More of them because our Heavenly Father has called us to them. If I'm being totally transparent, sometimes that is very hard. We wish we could do all the things we want to do while still doing what is best for our children and those two things are not always positively correlated. So, 2017 was about our little family of six and that's alright by me.
We celebrated a risen Savior and possibly took the first ever photo of all the children looking in the same(ish) direction. That was big.
 Then I took a solo trip to Savannah, GA with the Six Pence Posse (my OG family) leaving my kiddos for the first time ever with their daddy for a few days.

 We went back to our favorite stomping grounds in St. George Island, FL for a beach vacation that they still ask to repeat almost every day.

I had a great summer with the boys and little lady and felt as if I finally was validated as a mother. Doing everything by myself, day in and day out, for four little people showed me I was strong, capable, and it didn't matter if I was alone. It was a difficult and fun summer and I treasure it now in my memory.
We traveled lots of miles on foot this year, some with the kiddos and others by ourselves running and tackling our fitness goals. The hike pictured above was their longest and it poured rain on us. We just tried to keep smiling. That's life!
We were in the path of totality for the solar eclipse and that was a once in a lifetime experience (probably anyway) and a spiritual event. Wow. Indescribable. 
We went camping in the fall and it was such a treat.
We continued our Halloween tradition of dressing up in group costumes. The theme? Game of Thrones
 We reached the summit of Mt. LeConte together.
 We added to our family by four little paws. Meet Player.
Then we had a beautiful, simple Christmas and I got to bake with many of the women in my life.
And now we're to New Year's Eve and Jordan's family is on their way over to celebrate...but just until about 9 because we can't hang. I hope you have a fun, safe evening. I'll leave you with some alternative lyrics to a favorite song this time of year...

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Grief is annoying. Just when you think you can breathe again and things are going a little better, seemingly out of left field you're hit again. BAM.
That's what happened today at just before 8am this morning. I start my day at 5:30, slowly waking to have my coffee, let the dog out (yes, we got a dog), and try to pry open my eyes from yet another night of sporadic sleep. Every morning, I try to cling to that joy that's there (Psalm 30:5). The little people do not yet grasp this joy and so they very begrudgingly and painfully slowly rise up and start their day. I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does. Sometimes I herd them into school like cats and wish the other two that are clinging to my legs and hips could stay, too. Other days, I want to keep every single one of my arrows (Psalm 127:4) home with me so we can sit on Chip and JoJo chairs in our hypothetical library with the puppy in our laps and learn Spanish like all those perfect homeschool mamas on Instagram. But this is real life and we're late.
I buckle my little loves into their chairs and hand them an array of breakfast items that will inevitably end up on the floorboards and in their ears. I don't know why either. 
Abel got a new ear two weeks ago. I don't think I've talked about it here, but it's not a new processor per se; there was not another surgery. Instead, his cochlear implant company came out with a device called the CROS link system that takes sound information gathered from his unimplanted side and sends it to the implanted side so he has access to more language and sound. It's about the size of a hearing aid so it's tiny and made for adults primarily. In other words, it's not Abel proof. In two weeks, he has already broken it once. Yesterday, he didn't want to wear it after school so I put it in a very specific spot in my car so that I would know exactly where it was this morning for school. He goes in waves. Sometimes he wants to wear it all the time. Other times, he doesn't want to wear it at all. After testing in the sound booth on Monday, we know it is helping his hearing tremendously so obviously we want him to bond with it and become responsible with it like he is with his processor. But with all things new, it's a process. I went to grab his CROS link this morning and it was gone. It's not about the money. It's a two thousand dollar device once you pay for it and all the appointments that are required to program and set it up. Most insurance companies consider hearing devices a cosmetic expense and won't pay anything on them. So we put two thousand of our eggs into this basket, but who's counting? Anyway, I just want him to have the best opportunities he can. I don't want him to cry in gym because it's too loud and the language isn't clear. I don't want him to sign "mama" in large crowds. I don't want him to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to hear a fire alarm like his siblings. I don't want him to have to rely on power, a charger, just to be able to use a sense that most of us take for granted every hour. I don't want him to have this deafness. I want it. I want to take it from him.

Most days, I see the blessing of his deafness. I see the incredible opportunity Abe has to work hard and defy statistics. I dream of him being an interpreter, trilingual, an etymologist, in communications, a musician, or anything his heart desires. I can also recognize all the amazing people that were brought into our lives with his diagnosis years ago. I see how it's molding my other kids and how I hope they'll be more accepting of differences in their classmates because of it. Just the other day, they were playing that they met a kid on the playground who was deaf and they began signing to one another and purposing to "help" him find his mom. I mean, there are endless things to be thankful for.
But for five minutes in the car, I let myself be sad again. I think that's okay. 
The truth is that he is deaf and THRIVING.
Even teach his old mom to ponder on that joy that comes in the morning. To soak it in. To remember that the God in Heaven made all things, to include my sweet second born, and he made them perfectly. He is in the details of our lives. He loves us unconditionally, perfectly, wholly, supernaturally.

"And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17-19

Abel is full. I'm full. Through HIM, we are full. Thanks be to God.
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