Thursday, May 30, 2013


Dear Readers,
 Last week was hard. Mom and Benjamin were in the hospital, and being away from them was really difficult. Yesterday Benjamin came home. It honestly is such a relief to be all together again. I'm so so grateful. But this week is still very difficult. Benjamin is in a lot of pain when he sits in his wheelchair, and it is just excruciating to see him in such pain.

Since the surgery I've felt the exact way I've known I would feel since finding out about it. I've felt like a complete idiot for signing up to go to Argentina next Thursday. I really can't even tell you how much I missed my Mom while she was in the hospital with Benjamin. And I got to see her everyday! How on earth am I going to be able to leave the country for ten days without her?? I've been pretty freaked out thinking about it, and have done a really great job ignoring the fact that I'm leaving soon by burying my head in Maeve Binchy's books. But I'm leaving on Thursday whether I believe that fact or keep on pretending I'm not.

I go through moments where I'm really excited to hug everyone and hear Spanish and be back in that country. But when I see Benjamin in pain like this and think about how much I missed Mom in the hospital I really feel pretty stupid and scared.

But today God showed me in a couple of neat ways that He knows how I feel.

One of my Mom's dear friends sent me a package in the mail today. It contained a precious little cross bracelet and a note telling me that this was just a token to help me remember that she and many others will be wrapping me in prayer while in Argentina. How sweet is that? And what a sweet reminder from God that He's in control.

On my way to the mailbox, another of our dear friends was picking Cate up to take her to her swim team practice. She told me that her mom told her once that when we do something that God is telling us to do, but that we don't want to do, that's when He blesses us the most. Wow. I could have cried right then...

And then when I got in from walking to get the mail (when it rains it pours! ;)) I saw I had gotten a message on Facebook from my dear Aunt Nina, who is a missionary in Mexico. It was a precious note of encouragement telling me she was praying for me as the trip nears.

I'm so blessed.  I find it incredible that He cares enough about me to orchestrate all these kind acts of encouragement today. Yeah, I'm still scared and I know I'll probably doubt myself more as next Thursday approaches. But today my heart was really encouraged. And instead of worrying about what I'll do on Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday, etc.,etc., I think I'm going to just rest in the fact that today is okay. And that God is near and will be in control the entire time I'm in Argentina, as well.

Thank you, dear friends, for the support and encouragement you've blessed us with this summer. We cherish your prayers and love. Please don't stop! We have a long way to go and appreciate every prayer.

And I leave you with a quote from Maeve Binchy's Firefly Summer that I loved; "Nothing was what we expected things to be like. But we've survived, and we'll go on surviving."
Your Blogger,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dearest Readers,
   Thank you so very much for your prayers, kind notes, and words of encouragement this week. We so appreciate you!!
Hopefully Benjamin will be coming home tomorrow (woohoo!!!). In this entire hospital stay, as in the ones years past, my mom has been by his side the entire time. She left only briefly yesterday. (And yes, we enjoyed every moment she was home!)

Every time we are in that hospital room, I'm blown away by my mom's love and care. Despite her extreme exhaustion, she jumps up whenever Benjamin needs her. And every time we are in that hospital room, I find myself wondering about the children who are in the hospital without their mothers beside them? I have wished numerous times during the week that I could DO something for children left alone in the hospital. And although they're not in the hospital, I do know of three precious ones who are at this moment lying in a bed without their mother beside them to comfort them. I wish with all of my heart that they had someone to hold them in their arms and love them. And since I can't magically transport myself to these precious little ones, (Mason's been introducing me to Doctor Who this week...I couldn't help myself :)) I can make sure that one more person knows about them. 
So without further Seeley, Linny, and Marla. 

This picture breaks my heart. Sweet Seeley's little arms. He looks as if he's just laying there, waiting for someone to swoop in and tenderly hold him and love him. I've looked at it so many times these past couple of years, and yet no one has ever come to pick him up and take him out the doors of his orphanage. He still lies in that crib alone.

There are many children like Seeley listed on Reece's Rainbow. They're referred to as "crib babies" because they are bedridden. The saddest part of Seeley's story? His mother cared for him until April 2012. He's been alone ever since then. I can't imagine having your mom by your side, and then one day losing her. I would be devastated.  Precious Seeley has had to endure that. 

Sweet Linny. Another crib baby...
I know for a fact that sweet Linny has been in the hospital recovering from surgery. She had an operation to repair her spina bifida. She was developing typically physically and mentally after this operation. At 21 months old, however, she was admitted to the hospital again, this time for head trauma. She endured yet another surgery, and is now paralyzed on the right side and unable to walk or talk. Was she alone during these hospitalizations?

Precious Marla, who will soon be transferred to
a mental institution...

And then there's dear Marla. This precious angel is six years old. In an earlier picture, she was laughing. Here she looks so heartbreakingly alone. Once transferred to an institution her hope for a family, for a life outside of a crib,  will be practically non-existent.

These are just three of many, many crib babies in the world. They all contain so much life inside of them if only they would be taken out of those cribs!

Please pray for these little angels on earth. Please pray that someone will see their value and lift them out of those cribs. I'm thankful to know that even though they don't have mamas beside them, Jesus has never left their side. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Dear Readers,
   Benjamin is having his spine surgery this morning. Would you please be praying for both he and my family during this time? I appreciate it more than words can convey.

I've been worrying over this surgery ever since we learned about it right before Christmas, and tried my hardest to pretend it wasn't even happening. But sticking your head in the sand isn't exactly the best thing to do when it is the day of the surgery.

As the title suggests,  I took a note from Maria (from the wonderful musical The Sound of Music) on what to do with myself today.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad, 
I simply remember 
my favorite things
and then I don't feeel so bad!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens 
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things! 

That song is definitely counted as one of my favorite things, and it made me decide to wait to look at all of my pictures from Seussical the Musical and Disneyland until today. Maybe then I won't feel so bad! ;)

But let me say one more thing before pictures...Last night, after dinner at one of Benjamin's favorite restaurants, we went to see Moezart's select cast of Seussical. And right before the wonderful show began, Steve (our director and President of Moezart Productions) started speaking. He dedicated the show to Benjamin! Really, so neat. 

I thought it was the coolest thing. But it was more than that. That (and all of the people coming up to him telling him they were praying for him) really made me feel so supported. Kids were telling him they were going to bring movies over to watch while he recovered, and they meant it. Surgeries can be so isolating, but last night was really encouraging. The fact that we have this community of support and love truly blesses my heart. The fact that these people care touches me. I'm so, so thankful for this group of people. 

Sweet friends!

Yertle the Turtle, Mr.Mayor, a Who, and...Cate!

Benjamin picked a shirt and we all matched for one day. It was unbelievable the amount of comments we got!! So fun!!

Mom took this and I just love it!!

This picture took forever to get...

 Goofing off...

Here I am outside the bakery, purchase in hand
...isn't it lovely?

I bought these at a sweet little Mexican bakery...and ordered in Spanish! I was so excited I carried them around all day. Sadly, they weren't too good. But it was all about the experience!

Pluto reaaaally wanted to come with us! Bless his heart!!

All right, I'm ready to go back to Disneyland now...:) 

Thank you for reading, and thank you again for your prayers, dear ones!! Your Blogger,

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My thoughts

My brothers and I have all gotten the chance to speak to some of my uncle's ASU classes about disabilities. I spoke once on being the sibling, and the boys have continued to go back to the classroom even after Uncle Len was graduated. In these classes, the boys talk about their CP and share about their experiences (good and bad) in public school, to hopefully encourage these future educators and give them knowledge for when they have special needs students in the classroom. Oftentimes these students ask personal questions, some goofy, some serious. One that's often asked of them goes along the lines of "If you could get rid of your disability, would you?" 

I really don't like this question. It makes me angry because there is no possibility of ever getting rid of it in this life, and so why dwell on that fact? One of my all time favorite quotes is by Corrie ten Boom and it says "There are no what-ifs in God's Kingdom".  The boys have CP, there's no way to reverse that fact, let's move on and not focus on what could have been. 

Sitting in the back of the classroom, I hear that question and think about what a physical and emotional drain Cerebral Palsy is to my parents. And I think about my brothers' pain after surgeries. And I want to scream at the back of that head who asked the question "Well what do YOU think?!? YEAH we would get rid of it! DUH! Did you not just listen to all of their struggles in public school? USE YOUR BRAIN!" 
But that isn't how my brothers answer the question. They say no, they wouldn't change it, because it's helped shape them into who they are. 

What? That wasn't my answer. That's not what I'm thinking. Don't they see how stupid the question is? Aren't they as angry as I am? No? They aren't? hmm....

Deep down in my heart, I agree with my brothers. Trials make you stronger, and because of CP I think we are closer knit as a family. We know what it's like to go through real stuff, and so we stick together. We would be completely different if CP wasn't a part of our lives. Life would be easier, there would be no surgeries to go through, sure, but we would have missed out on a lot. We would probably have never met many of our dear friends, I probably wouldn't have learned sign language or started volunteering, the boys may have never gotten involved in theater, and we probably would have never been home schooled. I think of this and I, too, begin to feel thankful for it and how it has impacted our lives.

My devotion today spoke to my heart on this issue and is, in fact, why I brought this story up. I'll give you an excerpt of the part that touched my heart: 

"Do not long for the absence of problems in your life. That is an unrealistic goal since in this world you will have trouble...Begin each day anticipating problems, asking Me to equip you for whatever difficulties you will encounter. The best equipping is my living Presence, My hand that never lets go of yours...Take a lighthearted view of trouble, seeing it as a challenge that you and I together can handle. Remember that I am on your side, and I have overcome the world." ~From Jesus Calling 

Especially during this season before surgery, the moments where I feel upset and frustrated with the problems in life are more than the moments I'm thankful for them. This devotion encouraged me, though, that even in the middle of the struggle, God is still right there, holding on to our hand. Even when we try to wiggle free of His grasp, complaining about our situation, He holds on and promises that someday things will be okay. What an immense blessing.

Thanks for listening. Your Blogger,

Friday, May 3, 2013

Prayer Request

I signed up to receive prayer requests for sweet kiddos waiting for their families in China. I got this email from them a couple of days ago, and this little baby completely stole my heart. Look at that sweet smile! And those beautiful eyes! Here's what the email had to say about little Torie:

"Torie was admitted to our Special Care Center in Zhengzhou last June at four months old. She has been diagnosed with a severe congenital heart defect.
Torie is a beautiful little girl who is quick to smile and has an adorable single dimple on her right cheek. She is curious about her surroundings and anxious to be up and moving around, but also enjoys cuddling up with her nanny. Torie celebrated her first birthday in February and we hope she will have the opportunity to celebrate many more.
Torie was recently scheduled for heart surgery, but her condition was deemed inoperable in China due to its severity. However, Dr. Joyce Hill is hopeful that she may have a chance to receive the life-saving procedure she needs if she is adopted. Please join us in prayer for Torie to this end, and for our medical staff to gain wisdom on how to best proceed while she is under our care."

Will you join me in praying for Torie?

Your Blogger,