Wednesday, April 30, 2008

HIGHLIGHTS (life.....not hair)

I've not blogged in a few days. It has been so busy and hectic, that even the thoughts that I have had have been jumbled and noisy. It wasn't managable from my mind to the keyboard.....as if things were getting stuck in my heart and just couldn't come out. Well....those thoughts must have just been meant for me. Moving on.....

Some highlights from my past few days:
1. Shawn stood up by himself in the middle of the floor (no assistance) and he stood for about 7 seconds before sitting back down. Sweet victories...(thank you Jesus).
2. A young high school boy from Nashville went on a search via internet for some warehouse space to borrow, and he stumbled upon my website and contacted me. Long story short.....I fell for his plea, through a series of emails, and I managed to connect him with someone who could help him. This is all for a film project which he is hoping will get him into film school after he graduates high school. It felt so AWESOME to be able to help him, and he has been extremely graceful and grateful. I realize that I can do more, without even doing much. Even doing a little can make a huge difference to someone. And it's fun! Praise God for that.
3. I had a great time with my friend Cindy at dinner last night. She's always a highlight.
4. I met a sweet sweet lady from my church, along with some great time with Tina and Izzy.....nice to meet Holly!
5. Bible study with my wild group of women is always a highlight...every week. I love them. And we love our studies authored and taught by Beth Moore.
6. Asher crawled in bed with us this morning and curled up with me. He tucked his cold little toes in between my knees and told me "thank you". I knew what he was thankful for...even though he didn't articulate it. Sometimes toes can say sooooooooo much.
7. One of my clients got a firm offer on her home and an inspection repair agreement.....and she is sooooooooooooo excited about her future.....in ALASKA! I couldn't be happier for her.
8. Joe and I had a great conversation yesterday and felt a very positive shift.
9. Trying to help Spencer with his sleep disorder. Waking him up is hard, but once he comes alive, I'm so happy he is here. I get to see him every morning for a while. The gift of seeing his precious face far outweighs the burden of having to BEG him to get out of bed. He'll get better. I believe!
10. Plant shopping at Lowes on Monday night. I bought 5 awesome perennials for my flower garden that I'll plant later today, and only spent $30. Yay.....i love my garden.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And God made Asher

Asher talks non-stop. Well...that's not really true.....but sometimes it seems that way.

We planted some flowers this morning, all the while Asher was telling me stories about how flowers are beautiful, we are healthy, dirt is fun, worms love plant food, shovels are "tools" not "toys", mommy you are my best friend, mommy i just love you so much, fank you for my new jacket mommy, but i just want to help you mommy, i have a job to do, you forgot to make me some lunch, the temperature is just right, we like to talk about fings, your gwoves are pretty mommy, and daddy is going to be so excited when he sees these pretty flowers.

The best part of all is that since Asher was born, I have been teaching him that God made the flowers and trees, and on and on. I tell Asher all the time how much I love the flowers and the trees...and so he notices them. Now he talks about them. At the age of 3, he actually appreciates the beauty of flowers and trees. That is so cool!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Luke 21

I have been working all day. The heat is on....pressure is high.....negotiations get emotional (for my clients) and I have to help them through it all, and have it make sense.

Here it is 9:39pm and after a day of tough work, that started at 8:30am, I just grabbed my Bible (NIV) and opened it to a random spot. I normally don't do that. But tonight, I just needed to be directed to what God would have me know. I landed on Luke chapter 21. I tried to only read a few verses, and have that be enough, but God led me through the chapter. I'll not even try to tackle all my thoughts in one brief blog.....but thought I would start...and maybe continue for a few days.

Verses 1-4 are titled "The Widow's Offering" in the NIV. It says "As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth" he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

Have you ever known someone who gave regular tithes to the church, when you knew with certainty they struggled with putting gas in the car or paying for doctor bills? I know that at times, I have been that person. I'm not that person right now.....i want to be. Well, I don't want to be struggling...but I want to give more than I have....if that makes sense. Giving, for God's work, is an act of obedience, I do believe. I know that as a family, with giving, we used to be obedient and generous. I believe when my youngest son was born, I justified a reduction in giving largely because I was afraid. Planning for the future of a mentally disabled child just seemed to warrant such redirection of funds. Who would care for Shawn when we are gone, if not us? It is still something I struggle with! I think I really beefed up the giving of services, in exchange for the lesser giving of funds. And in all honesty....it still doesn't feel right.

This was not the "feel good" scriptures my heart was seeking....but certainly the message I needed to hear tonight. God has been so faithful to me in my career. I occasionally experience bizarre disappointments from time to time (as is to be expected with any endeavor) but He is faithful. I need to trust the Lord more with my finances and my giving. That's just the bottom line. My children are in His hands. My children are His children and He will show me how to earn, how and when to give, and how to prepare for Shawn's special needs. AND, how to enjoy some of lifes' pleasures. He will.

I want to have the heart of that poor Widow. I want to give away my final two copper coins and have it glorify my heavenly Father. I want to fall asleep knowing that He will provide my needs in accordance with His will. That is a peaceful promise......if I could receive it peacefully.

Bugs, Bees, Boys & Buyers

Bugs: What's up with the gigantic mosquitos in Nashville? They are horrifying my sweet Asher and have tried to overtake my dwelling. Seriously.....anyone know how long this is supposed to last.

Bees: Because of the mosquitos, Asher is having nightmares about bees.

Boys: Shawn is not phased by the bugs, nor the massive thunderstorm that disturbed the rest of my family last night. Asher screamed......then got in bed with mommy & daddy and continually made comments about he's not scared......... right....wink wink

Buyers: I had a great day today with some clients who have made an offer on their dream home! It's on..... Let's Roll!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How and When to Pray

I'm no expert on this subject. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior almost 9 years ago. Yes, I had an "aha" moment, a moment of awakening, and I was changed in an instant....and it started with a prayer. A very sloppy, sobby, amateur'ish, kindergarten style prayer. but He heard me...

I also went through a period of time, after dedicating my life to Christ, where I felt like.....why pray? God has a plan and He is going to reveal it.......I felt like my words were wasted, manipulated, contrived, fake, and well, useless. I think all believers go through this. For me, it lasted about a year, maybe a little longer. I finally got to a point where I could talk to God, but instead of praying for people to be healed and blessings to be granted, I just became very thankful....and I began to thank God everyday, for everything I could think of.....from blooming flowers to precious friends. That level of gratitude grew into even finding a place in my heart where I could be thankful for the crap.......(yes, i said crap)... crap like.....mean co-workers, persecution, financial struggles, weakness, hopelessness, and all the countless horrible experiences I lived in my past....every last one of them. The more I prayed my prayers of gratitude, the more God revealed to me through His love....His plan. What He showed me was that if I had not been through some of those devastating experiences.....if I had not been shattered.....if I had not hurt others.....then I would not have grown. I would not have become grateful. I would not have learned to appreciate the love that I do receive and the love that I can give back. If I hadn't been flawed, I couldn't enjoy some refinement.

Now my prayer life is quite fresh and new....I still pray many prayers of gratitude (believe me i have much to be thankful for). Over the past several months, the Lord has brought me to my knees. He finds quiet places in my house and he draws me to that spot. It's like he calls for me and I come, and I pour my heart out to him. He wants to hear everything....even the things I might even be afraid to pray about.

In 2 Samuel, chapter 7, verses 18 - 29, David prays to God. This prayer amazes me. David is in awe of God. David reminds God that David knows David is a servant of God. David acknowledges that God has made him promises, and David assures God that he believes in those promises. You know.....it's poetic and sweet (it's David after all...) but you can just feel David's heart in this prayer. It makes my own heart pound.....but here is the part that amazes me....and it stays with me. David says to God, of himself.... "so your servant has found courage to offer you this prayer. O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant."

David proves to us, in scripture, that sometimes it takes courage to pray....even to pray for the things that we know God wants for us.

I could keep going.....but this is too long, and I need another cup of coffee.....have a blessed day sweet blog friends.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Shawn

One of my primary reasons for beginning the blog was to be available to new parents, or parents-to-be of a sweet angel with Down syndrome. My first real fear was that our Shawn would not "connect". I wanted to him to feel love, show love, want love, etc. I wanted him to adore his brothers and need his mommy. I didn't understand Down syndrome, at all. I'm blessed to be able to witness his daily connections. Here is a video of him connecting with himself, in the mirror....just before I gave him the most handsome haircut ever. It's precious.

If you are new to this, or if you are expecting a child with this diagnosis....please do not hesitate to contact me. I have much to share.


video

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forgiveness?

I'm angry with someone.
That someone asked me for forgiveness.

Forgiving isn't the hard part for me. In fact, something about forgiveness comes natural to me and I am deeply grateful to God for that. But then there is this one little problem......... my mind works and it remembers e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.....with 99.9% accuracy.

I don't believe in bringing up old issues....whether it is my friends, my parents, my spouse, co-worker...whatever. If it has been forgiven, then I need to never bring it up again, and true, I would appreicate the same. But doesn't that "old" wound tend to direct your next move in some situations? Aren't I likely to withhold some of myself, if someone previously damaged a part of my self?

Moving forward with someone who leaves a scar is so complicated. Choosing forgiveness is right but can leave you vulnerable. I'm working on this. I'd like to trust that my forgiveness will be respected and that my heart will be protected.

Even after writing this, I'm not really angry. Just hurt. Hurt is more than enough. We just have to learn not to put our faith and trust in people. God is the only One who cannot let us down. His is the only perfect love. And we should forgive our human counterparts because we have received the gift of forgiveness. Grace. Pay it forward.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Jasper Pendent


I found this Jasper pendent in a store in Florida this past week. I had to have it. I think I'll wear it everyday for the rest of my life. It's my mothers day gift to myself.....have to justify it somehow, eh?


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Here is a video in Panama City Beach, on the property of Venture Out, where we stayed. There were fishermen cleaning fish, which attracted the Pelicans. I wish I had video of what happened just before this....Pat decided to go down a slide on the childrens playground, and got stuck. If only....

video

home safe

I'll be posting some videos and photos from the trip later today. Panama City Beach is gorgeous in April. The weather was fantastic, with a wonderful breeze. We saw Pelicans and dolphins. I went parasailing! We ate A LOT! We rented a bunch of movies...and my new favorite actor is Ryan Gossling.

Coming home felt like such a reward. I missed my family so much. Asher and I stayed up till 11pm last night watching Alladin......good snuggle time.

I woke up to my regular life, and it is sweet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

heading out in a few hours

it's girl time
we head out for the beach, at 4am
i will drive
only i can drive
i'm a control freak when it comes to driving
....they don't mind

they are pat
and sujette
we'll have fun
you can bet
we'll be free
but for a while
we will eat
and laugh and smile
may Jesus bless
our silly heads
and keep the sand
out of our beds
amen

Does Prayer equal Peace?

My pastor asked our congregation to think about this question this week.... "what would someone do, in your current set of circumstances, if he/she were absolute confident God was with them?"

Gosh....so my current set of circumstances:
1. My husband is considering posting for a promotion at work that would be better $ but a worse schedule - and that could have a negative effect on our children.
2. Our marriage could be better.
3. My teenage son has a sticky predicament at his university that potentially has a very expensive, negative outcome.
4. My youngest son has special needs, physical and mental delays, and might need heart surgery at the end of the year.
5. I have experienced some major upsets recently in my career and have been treated unfairly.

So, if I were to behave with such a solid, unwavering faith, as to know that God is with me, right now, in everyone of these situations.......what would I do?

I would praise Him for the gifts of our careers and the financial provisions. I would seek HIM and His will and not try to maniuplate the outcomes. I would not try to maniuplate the outcomes...
I would seek ways in my life, in my marriage, in my relationship with my husband that I could be a better wife. I would scream outoud at Satan, for him to step out of our way. I would encourage us to pray together. I would encourage him, value and appreciate him better. Mostly, I would trust that God designed us for one another. I would acknowledge that we are a powerful pair in the name of Jesus. And I would claim victory.....marriage is tough....but we can do it.
With my college son, I would trust that God has a plan and that He is going to reveal it. Perhaps I should recognize that I might have already manipulated a particular outcome, and that God is going to set it right back the way it should have been in the first place. I would extend grace and forgiveness to myself, and to my son, and just love him through the trials. I would lift up my son and encourage him to seek God, remember to pray, and to trust that God is in control.
With my baby....I would just continue to trust and know that his life is a gift and a blessing, and that God will do a work in him and through him, and that the challenges will be power. I will continue to accept that Shawn belongs to God now and forever (as do all of my children).
With my career...I would seek to hear God better....what is the lesson in this for me Lord? When people let me down and my business hurts as a result....I would trust that God would vindicate me....pray that my bitterness would be released and that my heart would forgive, even those who do not seek my forgiveness. Life is too short to hold a grudge. I would trust that God will heal my internal wounds and that he will provide.
Lastly, but most important....I would pray on my knees every day. I would take all of my worried to God and I would remember Him in all of my Joy. I would praise Jesus daily. I would choose actions and reactions that would Honor my heavenly Father.....if I were completely confident that He were with me at all times...and I am. Prayer is peace in my life.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Asher "happy and blessed"


We intentionally named him. Who wouldn't want a name that means "blessed" and "happy"? Also, in the Old Testament, Asher was given a blessing by his father that was "he will prepare fine, rich, foods for kings"....i paraphrase. And given that Joe is a chef....it kinda sealed the deal.

Asher is a delight and is glorious. Here are some things that Asher said today:

Asher, do you want a haircut like your daddy's? "No I really want to keep some hair on my head until these teeth fall out and I get new ones".

"Mommy, Shawn really does know that he really does love me".

"Mommy, Daddy, thank you for making a wonderful dinner for me." (We made breakfast for dinner, waffles and eggs....it was a joint effort).

Earlier today I was looking for my camera and Asher said... "mommy, did you forget to KNOW where your camera is?"

Today Asher ran to me and said "mommy what's the problem?" As confused as ever I said Asher there is no problem... to which he replied, "now Mommy, I am a fireman and there must be a problem around here somewhere!" I recognized this nudge for play so I immediately created emergencies all over the house.....but don't worry, Asher put all the fires out.

Ken & Stella

Congrats to one of my precious clients, and a new friend, Ken, who bought his first home this week. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to hand over a set of keys to a new homeowner...and in this case, a first time homeowner. The fence is being installed this week for Ken's darling dog, Stella. An exicting part of this transaction, was that we successfully negotiated for the seller to pay fora fence for the large back yard. It was a critical point for Ken, and it was accomplished.

We searched through tons of homes, in a lot of different areas for Ken. We had fun! We also experienced a few nail biting moments......termite inspections are never fun, and home inspections always uncover the hidden truths of a home. In this case, we did discover some things we didn't like.....but we fought for the homes imperfect qualities to be redeemed, and we came out successful. I'm so happy for Ken! I do truly love my career. I'm so thankful to God for the gifts He has given me to be able to perform well at this career. I'm thankful for the degree I earned, through His faithfulness, and for the past career I had in the arena of managing trusts and estates. I'm mostly thankful for this opportunity to serve Him, everyday, through my work.

Thanks to Ken for allowing me to be a part of your journey, and for trusting me with your largest purchase to date! I hope you'll enjoy many happy years in your new home, and that we'll enjoy a forever friendship.

Tasty Milestones


This is such a sweet picture to me. Shawn is sitting in our living room floor with Hye-Lee, a therapist who comes to our house weekly to work with Shawn on physical and occupational (fine motor) modalities. In this photo, he is holding a tiny ball with suction cups, and he managed to pull it off of a base. This exercise helps him develop strength in his hands, wrists, and arms. You can see he is enjoying it. He also goes to Vanderbilt Pediatric Rehab twice a month for similar therapies. But this week we accomplished something remarkable...
Shawn is 15 1/2 months, and has only 2 tiny little bottom teeth. He still eats baby food from a jar, and drinks 2 bottles a day....no sippie cup yet. We have given him crackers and other soft, dissolvable foods, because at this point, with no chompers...I'm afraid he will choke. I've taken a couple of chances here and there, and when he chokes, I just tell myself.....this can wait. Eating solid foods can wait. The family went out for Mexican food this week. We fed sweet Shawn before we went so he would not be hungry. Sweet fella just looked like he wanted what we were having....so I took a chance. I chopped up my grilled chicken into fine little bites, and Shawn ate every bite. He then shared some of Ashers hamburger. The boy ate like a champ.
For even a typically developing child, this is something to celebrate. For a child with Down syndrome, this is not an easy accomplishment. An enlarged tongue gets in the way and pushes food out involuntarily. And without teeth...chewing is, well....very complicated to say the least. But now Shawn is eating banana, cheese and hot dog. And he loves every morsel. We have received this as a gift and blessing, and thank God for giving Shawn the gift of "pigging out!"
Down syndrome has only enriched our lives.... I sincerely pray that every new mom or expectant family who has received the in vitro diagnosis of Down syndrome will not be afraid. Joy awaits.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Am A Pilgrim

I finally understand this journey...

I understand there to be a Heaven that awaits me and God that will rejoice upon my arrival. I believe I have a savior and that He is Jesus....the Messiah. I believe in the scriptures, and the scriptures say there are rewards in Heaven. There will be work for me to do there. My rewards will be based on my acts of service here, and my willingness to witness and testify to the great message of Christ. I want rewards....(am I alone here?)

Sometimes it is so hard to serve others....espeically when we feel we've been wronged. It's difficult to forgive. It hurts to lose. We each have our struggles, and at times we feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

So what I have figured out about this life is that my God will vindicate me..... There is not much room for fairness and equality on this earth where we live, so we must choose to accept God's will and move forward with Him on this journey. We are pilgrims, on a pilgrimage, seeking the kingdom eternity. It is there, with Him. I believe that with all my heart. So I have choices.....to live this life to serve myself, or to live my life to serve God by serving others. These choices carry through every aspect of life, from becoming the wife I (want to be), the Realtor I am, in friendships, and the way I choose to do life with my neighbors, enemies and strangers.

Come do life with me. Rejoice with me, in the joy of salvation. Let us live for the Kingdom Walls of Jasper, where no hurt exists. Let us set our eyes on Heaven! Let us earn rewards along the way. Let us gather as many together as we can.... it is our ultimate mission.