The Significance of 6! Jesus and Lego’s

There’s something very significant about turning 6! Who knew?!? I anticipated planning a party, buying supplies and singing “Happy Birthday” to our boy. What I didn’t know was that he would become a Christian and learn to build Lego sets alone.

Just a week before Hank’s 6th birthday we went through the Roman’s Road with him:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans: 623

“But God commented his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

As I read each verse and paused, looking up at Hank to see what he thought, he professed with his own words that he believed.

I have both joy and trepidation for my son. He will live the rest of his life with the perfect intercessor. He will have the Word of God to rely upon. But, he will also be guaranteed suffering by which the Lord will proof his faith like silver in the fire.

Dear Sweet Hank,

As your momma, I cannot be more proud of your acceptance, belief and confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Don’t take it lightly, you will need your savior dearly at times of suffering and even in times of abounding joy. Your daddy momma and brother are here for you no matter what, to point you back to Jesus. I pray you will read the living Word of God and from it draw strength for the great purpose God has for you.

love,

Momma

On Hank’s 6th birthday, March 15th 2016, we went to Barnes and Noble bookstore and purchased The Action Bible so Hank can begin his daily discipline of reading the Word of God. I am proud of him.

IMG_20160315_142944_edit
Hank holding his new Bible on his 6th Birthday

The following Saturday, Hank had his birthday party as planned (despite my having recently recovered from pneumonia and three of us fighting head colds). He had a wonderful time celebrating with 10 of his good friends at the Dojo where he takes Karate. I must say I really enjoyed it too. There’s a cool joy that comes from watching your child having fun. It trumps almost every kind of joy I can think of (beside the Joy that comes from the Lord, that one wins hands down). Hank received wonderful gifts too. Among them were three lego sets.

Pardon my tangential backstory for a moment:

Several months ago, I asked Hank how he and I can connect more and he said he really likes building Lego sets with me. I took that seriously and decided I would purposely help him with his future sets. I want to do whatever I can to foster meaningful life giving relationship with my boys because I know the benefit will be more than I can measure with regards to their sense of assuredness in life. Plus, I really Super Duper love them and want to enjoy them as much as possible.

After the party we went home and started building legos. To my surprise, Hank was doing them all on his own! I was both excited for his new skill and nostalgic.

Have I missed my chance to build lego’s with him!?!?!

Thankfully, he still enjoyed me sitting by his side as I sat in awe of his ability to follow the instructions step-by-step to completion. I love him so much.

6 is significant! Hank has been maturing right before my eyes. I’ve seen him choose to be generous with his brother. When I ask him to do something, without complaint, he helps me (more and more often). He is becoming a light in this world as he learns more and more how to reflect Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for bringing Hank to you. I am so very thankful that he will have you to rely upon all the days of his life. I pray Lord for his future family too. Please bless Hank as he grows. I pray he will one day marry a woman who loves you too and together they will see their children love and serve you. Thank you for the gift it is to be Hank’s momma. In you I am delighted and humbled. Amen.

My First Devotional, The Secret

Today I am sharing with you the very first devotional I have written.  May God meet you right where you are today.  ❤

True Hope Comes from Christ’s Strength

We don’t muster it ourselves.

We have probably all heard someone say, “I can do all things through Christ.” But do we know the verse that precedes that? What about the words that complete the phrase “I can do all things through Christ”?

Philippians 4:12-13 says,
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Paul is writing to the Philippians from his jail cell. Imagine what he may have been experiencing? Isolation. Hunger. Pain. Sickness. And Hope!?!

When we think of Hope, can we imagine the type of Hope Paul experienced? Think of a way that you desperately need Jesus, a way that you just aren’t enough. There is hope.

I had a pancreas tumor removed in 2012. I went from being told “you’re young and healthy” to 115 pounds & wrecked by illness. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. My doctors were at a loss. I cried out begging God for deliverance. For better circumstances. My Mom, in her wisdom said to have Faith when you cannot see. I remember the fight I had inside my body during those months of agony. Never before had I experienced my flesh at war with me and yet God seemed to keep me there. Not healing me, not letting me die. It was a hard truth to face. During that time and even to this day, I have many very dear Bible verses. God is faithful. Philippians 4:12-13 means SO much to me. I hung on every word of verse 12. When everything was stripped away, all my earthly strength and comfort, I finally intimately knew the secret of facing such things. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. The secret isn’t becoming a Christian. The secret is Hope. The Hope of the Bible, the steadfast kind that comes when we know God sustains us and gives us strength despite all odds.

As you can see, I am still here. God has granted me partial deliverance from my physical sufferings. I can see the gift it is to remember. I look at my surgery scars and still feel pain. Because I know the secret that Paul speaks of I have Hope. Not the fleeting kind we think of when we say, “I hope tomorrow is sunny.”

Paul’s words are not a self-help statement or some type of trite pep talk. Paul is telling us of the everlasting, eternal, deep, rich, vibrant, redeeming Hope; hope in Jesus’ perfect strength.

Dear Jesus,
Help us to rest in your word. To experience your deep HOPE through the truths you teach us. Jesus, help us to lay our fears at your feet and know that we can even suffer well like Paul by knowing your steadfastness. Lord, you strengthen us, you sustain us. Jesus, because of your strength we can face all things both wonderful and tragic. Amen.

Saved By God’s Provision – Our Experience With Broadside Collision

Just before Valentine’s day this year we had our usual weekly church small group meeting.  This time it was a dark and rainy Wednesday evening. Bart arrived home from work especially tired.  He decided to stay home with our younger boy, Gideon, while Hank and I went to group.

We celebrated Valentine’s day a little early at our small group with a white elephant gift exchange.  I brought an unopened bag of whole-bean coffee and we received a starter kit and a cute little blue betta fish.

After group, Hank and I loaded our things into our new 2009 VW Jetta.  Hank climbed into his car seat which was positioned behind my drivers’ side seat and I secured his seatbelts.  Then I placed our new betta fish (who was in a small plastic cup at the time) into the center console cup holder.  Away we went heading home around 9:40pm.  All seemed fine except for being a particularly dreary evening.  Having been a few weeks into a great workout routine I felt alert and well.  Hank sat quietly in his seat and we drove home.  The radio was off, my phone was stowed away safely in my purse.  It was calm and I was driving very cautiously.  (I have a very low platelet count, so I am ALWAYS cautious driving because if I get in an accident I could bleed to death.)  I came to the intersection where we usually turn to go home.  I stopped in the turn lane, signalled and when the road appeared clear proceeded to turn left.  Once fully into the intersection something very unexpected and bizarre happened…

I heard a loud sound like metal bending and immediately we began spinning in circles.  By the time the car stopped we had flown off the side of the road (God is so good) and safely up a berm.  I was horrified and immediately put the car in park and turned off the engine.  I called 911 and looked in front of me to read the license plate off the other car to the officer on the other line.  I remember so clearly that my headlights illuminated their car but there was no light shining back at me.

They didn’t have their headlights on!

I never saw them coming.  I never heard a thing until the hit.  No skidding.  No horn.

Nothing then WHAM!

As soon as I got off the phone with 911 I realized Hank was in the back seat crying hysterically.  My heart sunk, I was horrified.  My precious baby boy.  I turned around and saw he was safely surrounded by his car seat and didn’t even have a scratch.  I started consoling him then realized I was completely soaked in betta fish water.  Our new pet had flew out of the car and his cup shattered around me.  Then I saw the passenger side of our car smashed in, the side curtain airbags deployed and glass all over.

Adrenaline pumping and in horror of what had just happened I called Bart to come get us.  We wound up being there for an hour while the police took their reports.  Praise God, Hank seemed ok and was able to go home and go to bed.  While my mother-in-law stayed home with our boys, Bart drove me to the emergency room.  There I learned I had a concussion and severe whiplash.  I couldn’t control my head.  That is a very strange feeling!

I received a shot of morphine to ease the already severe pain and was discharged with instructions to follow-up with my doctor.

I don’t know what your experience has been with serious car accidents but up until February 12, 2014 I had none.  At the time of impact the other driver was going at least 45 miles per hour!

Here’s our Jetta after the accident before it went to the junk yard.

Passenger side of Car-1Passenger side of Car-2

All that damage and we walked away from it alive!

VW Jetta’s are Safe!

Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us.  Thank you that Bart wasn’t driving and Gideon wasn’t in the car.  If that were the case (as it usually would be on a Wednesday night) Gideon and I would have been on the side of impact.  Jesus, I believe it is in your sovereignty that Gideon and I didn’t die that night.  Praise and honor and glory be to you, our mighty king.  Amen.

Hank’s 4th Birthday Festivities (pardon the delayed report)

Let me start with telling you I am so blessed.  On Saturday March 15th, we celebrated Hank’s 4th birthday.  I can hardly believe we were entrusted with such a precious gift and that we’ve had him for 4 years already! Where did time go?  I find myself getting sentimental thinking, “Now there’s only 14 years until he’s an adult!”  I am old enough now to realize that 14 years just isn’t very long.

Now that Hank is a big 4 year-old he has some new goodies to enjoy.  God has been so involved in blessing Hank!  My dear friend, Tiffany, sold us her son’s Lightning McQueen bike complete with training wheels.  It was so cool because Gideon and I were able to pick it up while Hank was at preschool leaving him none the wiser. 🙂  I managed to hold off until Friday night when I just couldn’t take it anymore.  Bart and I agreed to let Hank have his bike a day early.  We went to my in-law’s home so Hank could try out his new ride on their long smooth driveway.  He loves it and especially enjoys “talking shop” while standing next to it.  He reminds me of his Daddy talking about trucks.

momma and hank with his new bike

On the Big Day (Saturday) we went to Northwest Trek.  Hank and Gideon love it there almost as much as us adults do!  We spent the first half of the day there then headed home.  At home Hank opened a few more presents: sidewalk chalk, a dinosaur bubble gun from us and a bow and arrow set, talking Lightning McQueen car and giant bubble wands from my Mom.  Hank has been begging for a particular bow and arrow set from Fred Meyer for about six months.  When he opened it, he was on the moon!

hank and giddo momma and giddo

Life isn’t just about what we get but it sure is nice to see the gift that children are!  My birthday was March 19th and I feel like Hank is my precious and slightly early birthday gift!  I now feel like my birthday is nearly just another day but really enjoy seeing Hank’s excitement and enthusiasm on his special day. ❤

Dear Jesus, I pray Hank will grow big and strong.  I pray he will love you and lead his family well one day.  Please grant me the wisdom and strength to be the best momma I can be.  Amen.

Swim Lessons- Toddler Wetsuit

Hank started swim lessons last week at the local community center.  It is awesome there.  When you first walk in the childcare room is just around the corner.  We stop there to drop off Gideon and off to swimming we go.  From the childcare room we walk down the hall where we see a rock wall in the distance and through double doors, past family shower cabanas, through more doors and into a beautiful heated room where the pool is located.  The first lesson we discovered that only two children signed up for the morning lesson and the other girl hadn’t made it so Hank had a private lesson!  What’s more, his little swim buddy is also three and has a peanut allergy.  I have really enjoyed watching Hank from the bleachers and visiting with the mother of the other pupil.

Hank has probably 4% body fat if that so despite the heated pool he shivers and quivers and shakes.  We ordered a wet suit for him last Wednesday after just two classes with purple lips.  It came quickly but was tragically short in the torso leaving no room for his undersides.  He actually told me it hurt his bottom. 😦

Well, we sent that back to the manufacturer and ordered a different one.  It arrived today and we are so delighted!  I ordered a size 6 to be sure he would fit and it is a bit roomy but I think that is for the best as he will get more use this way.  In case you are wondering where to get one for your toddler, we got this wetsuit and it is very nice and thermal throughout.  Our boys are both very tall for their age necessitating the two size up order that an average size child would not need in my opinion.

He is really loving his swim class and following the teachers directions beautifully.  I am encouraged to see he willingly does what he is asked for someone, even if that someone is not me at this time.  He is hoping to assert his independence and has therefore been very contrary lately.

So far he has done torpedo’s off the wall with his arm forward in a point, head tucked between and legs pushing off the wall (assisted), back floats (assisted), practised crawl stroke arms, kicked his legs while holding the side of the pool, and blown bubbles by first practising blowing a rubber ducky across the pool.  He calls it a  “soccer ball duck” for some reason. 🙂

waiting for class to start first class out in water bubbles back float front float new wet suit

Dear Jesus, I pray that at Wednesday’s lesson he is warm enough.  Thank you for helping me to save so much money with coupons at the grocery last week that it offset the cost of the lessons. Amen.

Hank The 3 Year Old Photographer

Hank loves photography!  Perhaps because he hears me make over my sister-in-law, Lacey’s, beautiful photos.  Or maybe he gets a kick out of using our camera but either way the following pictures give us insight into his world, literally from his perspective. 🙂

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy Drinking Coffee

Daddy making coffee

Daddy making coffee

Gideon's hair

Gideon’s hair

another of Hank's "selfie's"

Hank taking a “selfie”

Hank's "selfie"

Hank’s “selfie”

Hank's left foot

Hank’s left foot

Me cutting fabric

Me cutting fabric

Momma doing her hair Momma doing her hair-2

sewing sewing sewing

sewing sewing sewing

This picture is awesome!

This picture is awesome!

Dear Jesus, thank  you for Hank’s budding interest in photography and for the fun look at the world from his vantage point.  Thank you also that he hasn’t broken our camera. Thank you for simpler days. 🙂  Amen.

Screen Time

These days there are a multitude of ways to get what we’ve come to know as “screen time”.  Television, Kindle, IPAD, PC, Smart phone, and the list goes on.  In our house, we are virtually a dead zone.  We do have a television but no cable.  We do have Netflix and the boys enjoy shows on there without an endless stream of media because it stops playing after each show.  We are fans of good old fashion play.  You know like it was in the days before the internet.  We make up a silly game using laundry baskets and belts to tow the boys around the house or we play chase.

Recently, I discovered a neat setting on my smart phone that allows me to have a seperate section just for the boys.  I downloaded a few games there for use when we’re waiting extra at the doctors.

Last night the boys got to playing it together here at home.  Now we have a second way to get “screen time”. 🙂

Boys Giddo watching Boys Giddo watching (2) Daddy with boys watching

Dear Jesus, thank you for time together and that the boys are starting to play together.  Amen.

Gideon to the ER

Sunday night after a long day tending to Hank who had the stomach flu, I drove Gideon to the ER after 11pm.  😦

He had a raspy voice and a strange cough all day but was in great spirits until shortly after going down for bed.  We could hear a strange cry on the monitor like a maimed animal. So sad.

I took him out of bed and discovered he was having difficulty breathing.  He’s only two this was horrifying for me as a momma.  I rushed into the bathroom and started pouring a bath then a shower then holding him in the steam filled room.  Bart took over and I went to get eucalyptus oil to add to the water.  While Bart was holding Gideon we observed his ribs as he pulled with all his might to draw each breath.  I was so scared.  I called the on call nurse who recommended calling 911.  Shortly after calling, the EMT’s arrived.  Gideon is such an amazing little boy he was smiley despite his misery.  They advised us to take him to the ER.  Bart stayed home with Hank, who was resting peacefully in his bed (thank you Jesus).  I loaded Gideon up and off we went to the hospital.

I felt horrible taking him out in the cold so dog sick.  When we arrived at the hospital we drove past all the parking spots that are reserved for the elderly, disabled, and rechargeable cars.  That last one makes me angry.  I have to give preference to someone who drives a car they plug-in?  Way more important than my son getting to the ER quickly.  Anyway, no offense to folks who drive said vehicles.

The long walk through the parking lot to the ER entrance helped!  By the time the doctor evaluated Gideon, his cough was minimal and he even sang the ABC song!  I just love him.

Giddo in gown (1) Giddo in gown (2) Giddo in gown with blanky

I explained that his cough sounds like a bark and he was having such trouble breathing earlier.  He asked if it improved after going outside.  “Yes.” I replied.  He said, “Sounds like croup.”

He explained to me that when a child has croup going out into the cold air stops spasms and soothes the barking cough.  He administered a single dose of steroid to ensure Gideon wouldn’t suffocate and sent us on our way.  Just before leaving an assistant gave Gideon a popsicle.  That last part sounds ridiculous but they said to push fluids and that cold helps.

So out we went in the cold night 12am air past all the empty rechargeable car spots on the long trek to our car.  Gideon joyously chomped on his popsicle and I laughed at the craziness that was our Sabbath day.

Dear Jesus, Thank you that Gideon is on the mend.  Please heal him quickly.  Thank you for bringing Hank through the stomach flu quick too.  I pray for provision and health.  Please don’t allow Bart or me to get the stomach flu.  Amen.

When God Flips The Bird- Platelet Update

A little over a week ago, I cut my middle finger while preparing dinner.  My immediate thought was, “Oh great.  Now I’m going to bleed for three days.  How will I sew for my business?”  I finished making dinner and while eating realized there was no more blood.  Then after finishing the dishes, still no blood!

As some of you know, I have extensive clotting in my liver as a lasting complication from pancreas surgery last year.  Well, those clots stop blood flow from my spleen to my liver.  The resulting back-up of blood into my spleen means my spleen is enlarged and my platelets are way low (a clotting factor in your blood).

Or were…

My liver is still huge and the constant pressure of my ribs is hard to tolerate.

But

I cannot feel my spleen.  And I’m clotting normally (as I found out cutting my middle finger).  So, friends, we are witnessing God’s healing.

Last September, a nurses aid told me she had a dream about me in which God told her He would heal me and she placed her right hand over her upper right abdomen and said, “here”.

Since then, I have seen the ongoing complications as a call to faith.  Well, this is God moving.  Not even a year later and my spleen is no longer painful or swollen.  And thank you Jesus, my platelets are up!

I also think it’s worth noting that God allowed me to cut my middle finger to announce to me that He is healing me.  Seems to me that He is sending a little “memo” to the enemy.

Thank you for your prayers!  I will be writing you in the future to tell you of God’s complete healing.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your sovereignty and being fully good.  I appreciate your abundant love and attention to every detail of our lives.  Please sustain my faith as I await your complete healing.  To you be the glory.  Amen.

Vacation Is Good

Perhaps some of you wondered where I was last week, when you didn’t see a post all week.

Well, on vacation. 🙂

Bart took last week off work and we did a “staycation”.  It was good.  We were able to tackle house projects and do family outings.  I especially enjoyed hanging out with Bart.  When we were dating we spent loads of time just hanging out.  Then we married and had children.  Now, this type of quality time is hard to snare.  Like a very swift rabbit, we can try to chase it down but often quality time slips away, right through our fingers. Bummer!

Last week Bart painted the eve’s on our house and filled in the side of our house with crushed rock.  This was a huge improvement over the weed laden partially broken up former concrete path.  We picked about 15 cups worth of blueberries at Charlotte’s Blueberry Farm in Tacoma, WA for free!  We took family drives, played at the park and even rode the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton.  The ferry ride might have been the highlight of the whole week!  Here are some pictures:

back deck back of ferry with space needle in distance boys n dadd in ferry boys n dadd on deck deck giddo n blankie hank windy SAMSUNG walking down ramp

I also got my hair dyed darker.  I really like the change and feel that my eyes look more vibrant with darker blond hair. 🙂

SAMSUNG

Gideon and Hank became besties and started holding hands in the back seat.

SAMSUNG

And Hank decided he couldn’t leave home without looking just like Daddy!

SAMSUNG

Dear Jesus, thank you so very much for vacation and time with Bart.  I love him so much and he’s a really big part of the boy’s lives too.  Thank you for him.  Amen.