Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Looking back at this blog, it is long overdue an update. Let’s just recap:
March 2, returned from China
March 3, Phil got orders to go to the ‘stan’ in two months for a YEAR
Early May, Phil departs
June, frig dies, thankful to be renting in these moments
July, hard drive on my computer gets zapped by a lightening strike
July, drove to VA/TN to visit Phil’s Dad/step Mom and Mom along with taking Grant to running camp
August, crisis of reality, short version, God showed us a fantastic school for Peter to attend. Small and perfect for him. Cross Country practice started. Gracie turned 11.

August – NOW
Phil’s car battery died on Peter’s birthday. Was quite comical pushing it out and thankful friends were with us. God has taken such good care of us!
Caught someone digging through my recycling bin one night. Creepy!
2 cell phones stopped working properly.
**I know there are other things, but I have forgotten them. That whole, last marble in the brain, it is a real syndrome!
Grant completed his Cross Country season including several PRs–personal record.
He’s also involved with Youth In Government, Civil Air Patrol, practices guitar, serves at church and attends a Bible Study. He is now officially taller than me.
Gracie is doing American Heritage Girls, stopped piano, took a sewing class, serves at church and attends a middle school girls Bible study.
Peter and I go to a variety of appointments and drive to and fro school. He turned 13 in September. He took a month-worth of art lessons a while back, but he lost interest. This saddens me because he is very talented. He underwent a sleep study and recently had spinal surgery to untether his spinal cord–a common issue w/ spina bifida children. He’s healing. It is hard to tell if he is still in a lot of pain or just not 100%. He tends to overplay pain or be more sensitive than a non-trauma kiddo. He’s grown about 14lbs and I believe a couple of inches since we got home. His favorite thing is to play on Kindle or Xbox logos game. He also enjoys basketball and has ventured to play with a couple of neighbor kids some times.

This whole parenting without Phil home is no fun. We’ve been apart for 6 1/2 months. It has been a long 6 1/2 months. He is coming home in about 3 weeks for his two week of R & R.

I am so thankful for prayers and texts and phone calls, meals, hugs and just love from so many. Phil’s Dad and step Mom came to visit for a long weekend last month. He was able to fix Gracie’s roller blades and put in my new hard drive that Phil fixed from across the pond. Sweet friends have helped give me a little break here and there. They’ve picked up my kids or brought them home from various activities. Humbled… Life right now cannot be done alone. Without a faith in Jesus and other around me listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I don’t know what we’d do. In just the last two days, I’d had multiple people stop by doing their part to help. Again, humbling. Years ago, I would not have asked or probably even accepted help. Pride, selfishness would have prevented me from doing so. But now, totally different deal.

Beyond the fluff of the basics in our lives, the gist is that life right now is hard. It is emotionally draining on all fronts. The hardest piece is parenting a child with special needs who asks countless questions that don’t translate into the same understanding. Compound that with all the other pieces and it is just plain hard. I don’t share this for sympathy, I have many precious friends who are fighting bigger battles than I am. It is a huge reminder to be thankful in all circumstances and to have a grateful heart. A precious woman gave me a devotional book and a matching daughter one for Gracie yesterday. This morning, it was like a 2 x 4 upside the head. Needed every word of it. Despite all of that, I am tired. I miss the ease of my old life. I mourn the loss of what was. Trying to continue my healthy eating… not always easy. The opportunity to help others and work my business, next to impossible. Give the kids old mom they need, almost unrecognizable. I’m not firing at my normal level.
I have a whole new appreciation for parents with kids with special needs or families who must be at the hospital long term. I am so grateful for friends who are on the same journey we are. Being able to reach out to one another, encourage each other, pray for one another… priceless!

I hope to get back on top of this blog and keep it updated. Life isn’t always sour. There have been some moments of joy and sweetness. I’m anxiously waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. Praying it isn’t a freight train when I see it. AND, patiently waiting for the Lord to unfold plans for our future.
Be blessed and thankful through this Thanksgiving celebration!

Beach time

Beach time

This morning we drove down to Holmes Beach off of Anna Maria Island. This is the first time weve been to this beach.


**Old post never got published.

4 months and a few day since Gotcha Day

4 months and a few day since Gotcha Day

It is hard to believe how much Peter has changed since we first laid eyes on him in the hotel in Jinan, 17 Feb 2014.
Pool side
Two weeks ago, we went to make pizza with Gracie’s American Heritage Girls group–Christ-based scouting.

Still so many firsts happening. Youth group on Wednesday is something we’ve been attending for about a month or so. He knows we go to church on Wednesday nights. He seems to enjoy the ‘Jesus music’. The whole message from our Youth Pastor, gets a bit lost as I try and translate the overall idea via Google Translate. He seems eager to learn, but the lack of language (although it is building) isn’t easy.

This week, was VBS at our church. Again, another first. Grant is serving with the 2nd graders and enjoying himself. Gracie is in the 5th grade group w/ our Youth Pastor to help welcome them into Youth. Peter is with her as it seemed like the best fit and I hang with this group as well to help and supervise him, etc. Thursday, Peter was struggling to listen to me, so we decided we’d go home. I was frustrated, but felt like it was the best option at the time. We got home and we somehow started to talk about God. I explained to him that our church had been praying for him for quite some time. This led to a discussion about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. We spent time reading through several key verses in his Mandarin/English Bible and using Google Translate to ask him over and over if he understood what I was explaining. He said he wanted to become a Christian (which also sounds like “I have a question”) and have Jesus in his heart. He said he loves Jesus. We prayed together on the couch. As excited as we all are for this moment, a part of me also wonders if there is any of him who did this to please us? I asked him that as well and he said he understood. I will contacting a Mandarin speaker who helped him at Bring Me Hope camp to help us go through more of the intricacies of faith. He’s a smart kid and has a sweet disposition, but making this choice is also something you never take lightly.