Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hopey's Heart Update

While Hope's aortic valve continues to leak, causing some backflow issues....her heart is still functioning normally.  In addition, the aneurysm in her heart remains the same size as last check.  We are thrilled beyond words!  Thank you to all the praying warriors who stand alongside our little angel with much faith. 

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
(James 5:16)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Prayers For A Broken Heart

Today is the day I have dreaded for 365 days....Hopey's heart appointment is at 1:30pm.  At last year's appointment, we learned her aortic valve is leaking more.  In addition to the aneurysm in her heart, the cardiologist will be paying particularly close attention to that. 

As I have anticipated this day, I have marveled at how perfect my baby girl's heart is in spite of the physical brokeness. 

At almost eight years of age, my Hopey is learning to fit into the "typical" world.   For instance, I watch as she makes her best attempts to use a fork and spoon in the restaurant instead of her fingers so the stares will stop.  She'll reach out her chubby little pinchers to easily pick up a carrot from her plate at the Cracker Barrel....but then she'll peer over the top of her glasses to see if the person who was staring earlier is still looking at her. If not, that carrot goes "plop" into her mouth....followed quickly by another....and another.  But if she sees the stare, she'll work for however long it takes to manage that fork...she'll even hand that fork to Chappy and me and have us place a carrot on it for the staring will stop. 

AND in the grocery store, even though those lights, aisles, shopping carts, different smells and colors bring out the worst in Hope's battle with sensory issues, she now buries her head in her hands and hides so she won't scream out and disturb "the typicals" and their shopping efforts.  Yep, those stares have conditioned my little girl.  

These are only two examples.  There are many more.  Hopey cannot express her needs with words, her muscle tone makes simple tasks like opening a door impossible, and after three open heart surgeries, her ticker is still a complete mess....but she is concerned about pleasing everyone else.  She always has a hug or a smile ready to give to whoever needs it!  She is the most selfless person I know.

Father, I pray for a good report for my little angel today.  Thank you for giving me the gift of "Hope".         

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hitting The High Points

"It will only take me a minute....I'm just going to hit the high points", I said to the kids this week while pushing around my trusty vacuum cleaner.  When I heard the words escape from my mouth, I quickly remembered the time I took in my much younger years to create perfect lines within the piles of carpet.  Back and forth I would work the vacuum, and once complete, I would carefully tiptoe from the room to make sure not to disturb what would shout "Perfectly Clean!" to anyone who entered. 

Not anymore.  Five children later, and I am lucky to have a 30 minute date per week with Mr. Hoover.  How much my entire life is now reflective in that statement:  "I'm just going to hit the high points".  Can you relate?

There was a time in my spiritual walk when I arranged my schedule to be at church every time the doors were open....when asked to serve on a committee, I quickly answered 'yes' Bible was read for a solid 30 minutes a day and prayers were kept securely in a journal.  Yes, there was a time when I carefully tiptoed through life so those around me would shout "Perfectly Clean!" whenever they saw me. 

Not anymore.  More often than not, I am simply hitting the high points! 

Hebrews 12:1 says:  "Let us run the race with endurance...the race God has set for us."

To me, this verse means that each of us have our own races to run.  At the moment, my race involves a rising high school senior who is working to obtain a football scholarship, a homeschooled teenager who has a passion to use music to bring awareness to the special needs community, another teenager who is struggling mightily from the effects of Reactive Attachment Disorder, and two little ones who are non-verbal and who have an extra chromosome.  It is quite a race.   

But my race will change soon, and yours will too.  There will come a day when I will have time to make the perfect lines in my carpet again....when I will have time to dust off that old prayer journal....if I choose.  But I don't believe I will, because hitting the high points is actually what I believe scripture teaches us to do.  How it must bless the Father when we are so busy serving, loving, teaching, helping, and experiencing life that we have no time to 'schedule Him into our calendars' or look "Perfectly Clean"!

Natalie Grace is one of my high points right now.  Through her, God is teaching me something  totally new about faith and trusting Him.  This is from a letter I recently received from her:

"Hi everyone.  I am doing good!  Something I forgot to tell you is in the morning we do a devotion and read different chapters aloud.  Yesterday we listened to the preacher of the church we go to on a disc.  It was really good.  Next, we did a 3 mile walk video and boy did that hurt.  Everyone here is really nice.  The biggest news happened at church.  They were talking about people pulling away from God.  The preacher asked us if you don't know if you belonged with God to raise your hand.  There were a few.  Then he asked who doesn't belong to God.  I raised my hand.  That day he said is the day you ask God to come either into your life or back in your life.  I went to a staff member and was crying because I really want Him back in my life.  I told her I lost God and I need Him back in my life.  We looked up some verses and I prayed for forgiveness.  I really meant it with all of my heart.  I am saved.  I know that I won't be perfect but I love God again and I wanted you all to know that.  I truly want to be a new Natalie.  I want you to know, Mom, on the phone before I got here, what you said to me meant so much.  That was all I needed to keep pushing on.  I am so glad God put me here.  It shows how much he cares for both of us.  I love you all and can't wait to call you.  We can only talk for 15 minutes but that will be better than 5.  I know that you all have forgiven me, but I want to say I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart for lying, stealing, having a horrible attitude, and everything else I did that was bad.  You all don't deserve that and I want you to know that I care for you all and love you so much.  You mean everything to me." 

Who cares if my carpet has perfect lines?  Who cares if my prayer journal is kept up to date?  This is the 'high point' stuff that matters!  I am so thankful for a God who cares so much for me and you that he would intentionally call this life a "race"....that is a word we can all relate to.  Each of us have different experiences, different abilities, and unique people who run our races alongside us.  Our job isn't to line the isn't to sound the shot that announces the race has begun....our job isn't to man the snack bar or to hand out the programs.  Our job is to simply keep running.

To my 5 runners, the loves of my life:  Keep Running!  I'm going to run with you all the way to the end!

Run, Natalie, Run!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Rescue 5 Project Update

Like many of you, I want to wear clothing that accomplishes two things.  First, I desire to promote positive attitudes about causes I care about.   And second, I want to spark meaningful conversation that will create change.  

If you click the links below, you will find a description giving meaning to the designs we created.  Each can be placed on a number of different products within Zazzle, generating different price points to accomodate every budget.

Lydia is currently raising money to fund the adoption of 5 orphans who have special needs. You can read more about it here: 
The Rescue 5 Project

Proceeds from all sales will go to fund the Rescue 5 Project.  

The R Word Hurts Tee Shirts
The R Word Hurts Tee Shirts by Squidmunkee
Shop for custom t shirts online at Zazzle

Walk A Mile In Different Shoes Shirts
Walk A Mile In Different Shoes Shirts by Squidmunkee
Browse additional t-shirts at

I See You Shirt
I See You Shirt by Squidmunkee
Create unique custom shirts no minimum.

P.S.  For all who continue to pray and ask about our Natalie, she is doing well.  I will post an update next week with some quotes from her letters.