Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today is the day my sister was born and my dear friend went to see her Savior . . .

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Hilary!!!!!
1) She is 4 years my senior. Everyone always thinks she is the oldest but really she is the middle child, and a typical middle child at that!
2) Growing up she got in the most trouble. She got spanked the most, screamed at the most, and punished the most. I still think this is why today she is my mom's favorite!
3) When we were little I would annoy her like every little sister would. She would punch me, pinch me, and yell at me because I just didn't know when to stop!!!
4) She was an awesome athlete growing up. I would be picked 1st because I was "Hilary's little sister", they thought I was as talented as her.
5) It was tough growing up in her shadow, smart, beautiful, and talented. I loved every minute of it.
6) She has the heart of gold. She cried when I told her I was pregnant because she was so worried about me and my life.
7) She has 3 children and has given birth 4 times. She was a gestational carrier for her best friend. She carried Chance for 9 months and gave a gift no one else could to Charlie and Joanne. I will never forget that day . . .
8) She's strong. Strongest woman I know. She will fight for what is right and not back down until she gets what she wants, I have learned a lot from her.
9) She is one of the few people that can handle Autumn and can get her out of any mood, tantrum, or fight. She's amazing.
10) She's my big sister . . . what more can I say???

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Remembering Tami . . . December 15, 1977 ~ April 22, 1995
1) She was beautiful inside and out, I loved her smile and her laugh.
2) She was a true comedian, she could make me laugh when ever she was around.
3) She was Rayne's 1st and favorite babysitter. I don't really trust many people with Rayne but I trusted Tami and her family instantly. Rayne was 16 months when Tami died and she missed her so. We would go visit her grave and she would say "Tami, where are you???". It was sweet and sad at the same time.
4) I thought Tami and Crystal were so "anal and weird" when we went on our mission trip to Mexico because they brought baby wipes. Turns out they were the smartest ones of us all, imagine, Mexico, August heat, no running water, wouldn't you like a baby wipe????
5) She was an awesome sister. I always admired Crystal and Tami's relationship. I wish I had that kind of relationship with my sisters back then, now that I do I admire them even more.
6) The months before Tami died we had some pretty deep talks about life, love, and the future. I never told anyone about these talks, and never will, it's our secret.
7) She died way too young. In a car accident, sudden, quick, horrible. God has a plan, I can't wait to find out what it is!
8) Tami loved life and loved Jesus. I hope I die as ready as she was.
9) I miss her a lot.
10) I am so thankful God left Crystal behind. She is one of my sisters now and Rayne loves her just as much as she loved Tami.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Hot Sauce . . . and Popcorn . . . the Easter Bunny knows me well!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If it weren't for Jesus . . .

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I would be crippled with my depression, physically hurting myself, attempting to numb the pain. Instead, I believe God when he says He loves me. I no longer hurt myself but live in the freedom that only He can provide. Yes I still have my down days, yes I see professionals who help me with my battle and yes I even take medication to help me with the fight, but if it weren’t for Him, none of this would be possible. And I know I would not be standing here before you today, I know this is true.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I wouldn’t have two beautiful daughters, I would have chosen to end their tiny lives long before they saw the light of day. At 18 years old, so scared and lonely, as I sat in my dorm room I would have chosen a different fate for my Rayne Theodora. I would have taken the advice of a friend to drive to a clinic she had used a year before. I would have ended her life. And look at her, 15, beautiful, accomplished, a child of God, alive. And at 25 years old, definitely in shock, filled with pure, unfiltered shame, filled with anger, filled with hate. I could have very, very easily chosen to end a life I knew nothing about. I did not know her, or see her, no one had to know that I messed up again, or that I was taken advantage of. But because of Him I chose the hard road, I chose to face my fears, face the shame, face the hate, face the hypocrites that supported me when everything looked good but then cast stones at me when my sins were visible. And here she is, my Autumn Grace, look at her, 9, beautiful, wonderful, a child of God who made the choice to be baptized in His name this year. If it weren’t for Him.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I would be shackled by the hate and anger I had for a father who during my childhood sometimes drank too much and a mother who covered it up with secrets. I wouldn’t be able to love my father for who he is and see that he was forgiven by Christ so why not by me? I wouldn’t be about to accept my mother for who she is, to realize that I cannot change her, I can only change myself. I admit it was easier to forgive my father than my mother but I love her and if it weren’t for Him my children would not have a relationship with their fantastic, God-fearing grandparents.

If it weren’t for Him . . .
I wouldn’t know you, I wouldn’t know true love, I wouldn’t know how to love back. I wouldn’t know community or what it means to call someone a true friend. I wouldn’t have The Best Group Ever to go to every Tuesday night. To pray with, to read the Bible with, to stretch each other, to refine each other, to make each other think. To do laundry for each other, to cook for each other, to clean for each other, to talk each other down from a mouse sighting, to laugh with one another, to cry with one another. To get mad at one another and work through the madness and anger instead of ending the relationship. To do what Jesus would do instead of what we want to do. If it weren’t for Him I would not know what this crazy community would be. I wouldn’t have women I could send an S.O.S. out to because I am just feeling so, so low. I wouldn’t have those same woman come to my house to check up on me to see if I’m still alive, or to show up at my work with balloons and gifts to try to get a smile out of me. If it weren’t for Him I would not have this community.

If it weren't for HIM . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. I took Autumn and Jake to our church so they could hear the story of Easter through the Resurrection Egg Story. After they heard the story they enjoyed making a craft. It was painful watching Autumn struggle with all the kids, singing, and attention, but FINALLY she settled herself once she was able to focus on her craft! I also picked up the children I was cleared to supervise by DYFS. J and J had such a good time at their home church spending time with their mom and grandma.

Jake also enjoyed his craft!

They each got to make a cross and place stickers all over them!


After the kids were done with their crosses they each got to make a cool Jesus necklace. Teya helped Jake with his. Jake later gave his necklace to his mommy!

After the children's program Jake, Autumn, J and J, their mother, and grandmother, and I all went to Friday's for lunch! We had a great time and were joined by 4 other people from our church! How great was that????

At night we went to Aunt Jillie's and Uncle Stevie's for dinner. Autumn put back together the Resurrection Egg set that Lucy threw all over the floor!!! LUCY!!!!

Before dinner Rayne read Lucy an Easter story!

Uncle Stevie made a delicious Pot Roast!

We ended our day with Autumn taking a picture of me trying on some new clothes!

God is so good . . . I can't wait until Sunday!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Autumn has regressed over the past 3-6 months. Riley's illness did wonders for Autumn's emotional well-being (I'm being completely and utterly sarcastic here). School has been a wash, she refuses to do all work, has on some occasions sat in the middle of the floor and refused to go to lunch, OT, or the guidance counselor, and she has disrupted the lessons so much that it was impossible for her teacher to teach. At home she has started to do repetative things which have been to a minimum up until now. My mother watched the kids the other day and she said Autumn walked in circles and repeated phrases over and over again, I have not seen these behaviors before but hey it was Tuesday! She has started to self stim again by using her mouth. For instance my sister walked into the living room the other day and Autumn had peanut butter completely covering her hand and face. The other morning we saw the same scene but substitute Cool-Whip for the peanut butter.

Having a child with special needs is a challenge. But there are a few moments in our lives when it feels like HOME. We had taken off from her private occupational therapy for two reasons, 1) I had a $500 bill I needed to pay down and 2) Autumn just needed a break. Soooo with this regression going on I decided to bring her back to Missy, her OT. We went this Monday, its been about 4-5 months since we have seen Missy and Autumn did not want to go. This is strange since she loves Missy, however, lately Autumn as not wanted to do anything outside the house, she would much rather stay in her own little world. We arrived at the center and I realized we were HOME! Autumn crumbled into a little ball on one of the chairs with her fist in her mouth starting to drool, shaking her head to anything I asked her. But guess what? NO ONE NOTICED!!! It felt so good to be in a room with parents and their children and have no one look at me like I'm a bad parent or Autumn is a strange kid. All the parents were just like me, all the kids were just like Autumn in their own way. This center primarly treats kids with Autism, or the like, so when we walked in we were HOME and it felt GREAT!!!!