Monday, October 27, 2014

hears, sees, knows.

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
Exodus 2:23-25

I've been doing a bible study on Moses over the last several weeks. It's feeding me bread and not just milk. I absolutely love it and need it. 

A few weeks ago, we read Exodus 2:23-25 and three words stuck out to me; heard, saw, and knew. 

One of the other ladies in the study had brought it up so I wasn't the only one. These words have been playing over and over in my mind. I've been chewing on them like Nora chews on her toys-focused, determined, and with purpose. 

My heart has been tugged on the last few days. Partly I know why and I know things aren't as dramatic as they may seem to be this week as they will next week...but partly life is hard and that makes for hard

I kind of vented to Mama this afternoon. I wasn't complaining, just stating facts. I'm sure I should have felt better after getting it all out but I think I just became even more stuck under thick mud. At least that's the image in this crazy mind of mine!

Things are good with Cale. I see him trying in so many different ways to become a better man, husband and daddy. It's beautiful. It really is. So quickly my thoughts can lead to this spiraling trail of listing off all the things that we don't have-that I don't have; things that feel stolen.

I'm sure if you check back in with me next week, I'll be fine. For today though, today was just heavy. Blah.

I was rocking with Nora this evening feeding her before bed. I was listening to Mama tell a story when there was a knock at the door. Mama's friend had just left so we thought maybe she had forgotten something. Mama answered the door to a pile of stuff. She came back to Nora's room with a bag of stuff and a sweet sweet gift.

Friend, if you're struggling tonight, I want to let you know that the God who created this universe and the God who knit you together in your mother's womb,

He hears you.
He sees you.
He knows you.

When you press in and with desperation you seek Him, you will find Him. He will wrap His arms around you and love you. 

He's personal. 

There will be heavy hearted days that are swimming (or even sinking) in mud but there's also a God that knows exactly what your thoughts are. 

He hears you.
He sees you.
He knows you. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The After.

I have to laugh. The moment I sit down to update this blog of ours, Nora wakes from her nap...45 minutes earlier than her typical length of nap. Its lovely I tell you, this life of mine. 

I've once again let time pass away with out logging onto my account and letting my fingers move across the keyboard doing the communicating. For now, I'm going to set aside the last couple months (I know some of you have been asking for updated pictures...they'll come!) and share just whats on my heart at this moment. 

Back in September, we celebrated Cale's birthday. Another year has passed and as always we're able to rejoice in what the Lord has done in his life. 

The morning started out with Mama running to the store early as I fed Nora. He doesn't care for cake but he sure does have a great appreciation for the manmade maple bar. It's quite the relationship. 

There was six of these maple frosted bars purchased and layered on a plate in such a way to make the perfect birthday breakfast cake. Mama even put a candle on top. We were so excited, knowing Cale was going to find this funny and enjoyable. 

After everything was ready to go and Nora was all taken care of, I walked into our bedroom to get Cale for breakfast. I was met with an angry man. He didn't want to have anything to do with me or anything I could say. I tried to talk with him and calm his ranting. 

Wait. Wasn't this supposed to be a happy morning? Everything is planned and ready! 

That doesn't matter when you have a brain injury and you lose all ability to reason. Nothing matters except for the emotion you experience in that very moment. 

Mama had to leave real quick so I was left with Cale and Nora. 

All of a sudden Cale burst out of the room and decided he was taking off. Directing to the man cave wasn't going to help this time. Unfortunately. 

We have the police department on board for times like this. For times when he bolts and I'm here with a baby unable to chase after him. For a split second I questioned what I should do. Call the police? It didn't really seem like a fit for this situation. Quickly get Nora into her carseat and follow after? Possibly but I'm limited in what I can do when she's with me. I wouldn't be able to jump out of the car and walk with him at all.

I called our neighbor that lives down our street. Tiffany has saved us more than once in different normal life stuff and as always she was to the rescue. All I had to say was that Cale was upset and walking down the street.  She ended up walking for a long time with him (barefoot!) until our youth pastor at church came and talked Cale into going for a drive. 

All the while, there was this plate of donuts sitting in the microwave, untouched. 

Happy Birthday Cale...

In our home, days like this happen. They come and go. Without warning we have bad days when brain injury takes over. Tears usually come with it. 

Eventually, sometimes minutes and sometimes hours later, there comes a relief over whatever situation we're in. A time when smiles come back. 

There comes a time when brain injury seems to take a break and the donut cake comes out and the candle gets blown out. 

Those hard moments are hard. I'm not going to lie or make it seem like I respond perfectly and handle it full of grace and dignity. 

Most of the time, I have absolutely no clue what to do...unless he's mad at you and not me. I can do that just fine ;) 

I always know there's the other side. There's always the after. There's always the sunlight that begins to peak through the clouds after the rain is over. 

I bask in those moments. 

I soak in the smiles, cheers, and laughter. 

We recently walked through a few weeks of storm clouds and rain in this house. I was even in conversation with his doc at Walter Reed. Would we need to go back? What can be done? What do I need to do? So many questions and as I sat at Jesus' feet, I didn't feel like there was a clear answer. I pressed in. I became very still before Him. I didn't go mad trying to figure out the perfect solution. I just waited before the Lord with truth opened across my lap. 

And, without too much notice, we've entered into the "after" and the rays of sunlight are over us. 

There will be another episode of anger but as far as another stormy season, we've come through once again. Excitement wells up within me as we're together holding hands into this next season. 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Little Lady Nora.

I opened my eyes slowly unsure of what else to do except for stare into the most beautiful face I had ever seen.

She was here.

The midwife had left with instructions to rest. Nora was going to sleep up to 4-5 hours and it would be the last chunk that she could go without eating every few hours for several weeks to come. Sleep. 

Maybe I should have kept those lids of mine closed but unless I had super glue to help, the hour that had passed was going to be the only time that I could keep them closed. 

I was starring at her. 

Everyone had left the house except for Mama. It was just me and her in the bed; the only sound was her little hums with each rise and fall of her chest. 

I'm a mommy.

She's my daughter.

Flashes of moments from when I was a little girl in my room with my baby dolls playing house, making beds and pretending to care for them and love them. 

This was no pretend baby.

This was life. A human. My daughter. 

I came out of the room and let Mama take Nora so that I could get showered. Birth was just hours previous and I had a strong desire to get clean. 

As I washed I looked down at my still swollen belly. How was she not in there anymore? 

The days came and went.

Those first days feel like a dream-another life. 

Everything was so new. 

Lots of people came to visit and shared in our excitement of our new little family. 

I felt great and almost unusually normal until about the fourth day when a rush of emotions came and finally exhaustion hit. I was so tired I didn't feel like I could even talk.

I held her. 

I rocked her.

I rested the next day. Holding her extra. 

She kind of rocked our world. 

It didn't take long for her to become part of our every day life and routine. It has been a whole bunch of adjusting and learning each other and how things operate with a wee one in the home but we completely enjoy her! The poopy diapers and all! ;)


So far, she's traveled to NC! We spent time visiting friends and family. It was a great trip and we always hate to say good bye. While we were there my nephew graduated high school, we went to the beach, we visited Cale's therapists, a surprise baby shower was thrown and she was held a ton! Travel to NC and home went great! I had a front carrier and she slept most of the time. I had feared that we would be the parents on the plane with a screaming baby but thankfully that wasn't the case! 

We also have gone to a few weddings, had a family BBQ so everyone could meet Nora, started running again, had pictures taken, rocked with grandma (a lot), baby dedication at church, 4th of July fun, turned 3 months, hung out with friends, went on some bike rides, went swimming, had a date night and went to the doctor for a check up! 

Life is full and rich indeed! 

{these pictures aren't in order...I just got them on here!}

Mama absolutely loves being Grandma. This is her 12th grandchild but only the second one she's been able to love on all the time! 

5 generations! Nora had her great great grandma, her great grandma, her grandma and her mommy all together. Such a gift!!! 

brothers from another mother-

While in NC we met friends who have been following our journey here on the blog! I was SO excited to finally meet Emily and met her daughter as well! 

Ciera had been crying because she had her last day of second grade and was sad to leave her teacher. Cale being the sweet Uncle he is helped her feel better :)

During our trip I was able to visit my dear friend Shawna. This lady had come to stay with me during one of the hardest times of my life. I treasure her friendship so much! It had been way too long since I had seen her face! 

All of us got our toesies done; including these two. :)

I love these ladies SO much. They've made more of a difference in our lives than they may know!

This is one of my favorite pictures! Hilarious! Nora & Levi meet :)

Her smiles melt me! 

Cale on the left and me on the right :)

first time in nursery at church!! whoa. 

meeting a new friend :)

our 4th of July fun!

We are so thankful for the church family we have. They've walked alongside us for a really long time and I know with Nora here, they'll continue. Especially with Nora here! ;)

We had a date night!

At 12 weeks she was 12lbs 10oz in the 54th percentile for weight and 24 1/2" in the 93rd percentile for height. She's a growing girl! 

I enjoy these morning moments so much. Us as a family-together.  

Some babies are born into this world without even a single person loving them. I'm so thankful this little lady has not only one, but three to pour love on her each day. 

Before Nora joined us, in the evenings was the time that Cale and I would read the Bible together, read to Nora (when she was in my belly) and have good conversation. We slowed down and focused on each other. When Nora showed up our whole routine went away! Not a surprise! Cale still read to her some during the day but in the evenings she would fuss like crazy. Often it was us quickly trying to get ready for bed and then me taking care of her until around 10pm when she finally went to sleep. It was not a fun time in our life. 7-10pm was her crying and sometimes me crying with her! Every. Night.

When we came back from our trip to NC, I spent time focusing on her and trying to establish a bedtime routine for her. Our lives changed. 

No joke. 

She started going to sleep at 7pm which gave us our evening back! I feel like this made SO much of a difference in our home! I fed her again at 10 pm for while and then she started to sleep until 5am! So thankful! Monday night she slept 12 hours straight! I woke up at 6am in a panic wondering if she was ok...yep! Perfectly fine! :) I'm ok to keep that going! 

I really REALLY need to stop waiting so long to post until it ends up being these mile long posts! Gone are the days where I could sit, write and post. These days it literally takes aaaall day to get a post done! 

While I was typing this post today, Nora decided to roll over! I watched on her monitor and started taking pictures. How exciting! Right? Until her next nap she decided to roll over again instead of nap! Haha! It's now a fun game...oh joy! She's a week over 3 months and she's rolling over. This whole baby-changing and growing thing is hard for me! 

I've been "feeling" the effects of what our home dynamics are more lately. Taking care of a home and a baby is a lot when your husband isn't able to help out...and your taking care of him as well. It's nothing dramatic just reality. Things that need done around the house that I have no clue how to do or times when Nora is super fussy and I have to try to get dinner cooked...

Cale isn't able to help out in most of these situations. He does help with his muscles when it's something safe for him to do and sometimes he'll take Nora when she's fussing but sometimes he just can't handle it-and we become even more thankful for the man cave!

This evening she was super fussy (because of lack of napping!) and parts of today have already been challenging for me. I was trying to get dinner cooked and just felt all around tired. When we sat at the table to eat, I let Cale know that she might fuss and cry all through dinner. 

We started to pray before eating and as I was praying I started to thank the Lord that even though I didn't get anything on my list done for the day, she was here. She was with us. We're so thankful to take care of her even if it means we don't get anything done or she fusses like crazy. 

I just want to say that after an hour of her fussing, she was quiet as we ate. 

She even giggled before bed :) 

My handsome man is patiently waiting for me to finish this up and join him...