Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Bronson has had an amazing day. Nana got him a full NASA costume and he thought it would be a wonderful Christmas outfit for Christmas Eve service. Ashley wasn't able to make it over the mountain to celebrate because of her recent hospital stay, but praise God she got out in time to spend Christmas  with Oaklen and Joe. Bronson has kept me quite entertained the last couple of days and he showed me several off the cuff impressions from movies. He was able to do Mrs. Doubtfire, Casper, Sgt. Bilko, Ed, Monkey Spy, Nightmare before Christmas, Toy Story, Cop and a Half, and Big Daddy (from the time daddy let him watch it while fast forwarding scenes.) I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

I am so glad that we decided to make Christmas Eve service at Grace a priority. It was such a blessing to me. The other big blessing was being able to spend lots of time snuggling my 3 month old nephew Hanson. I am an extremely Auntie and Mommy.

Dates, Dates, and More Dates

2012 has marked the first year since Bronson was born that his birthday and any preceding event that happened during my pregnancy lands on the exact day of the week that it did in 2007. I will admit that it has taken my breath away a couple of times. One very personal day I was helped out of my funk by discovering that one of my dearest friends would be having her own little baby. I don't think she was expecting quite my reaction; but I felt abundantly blessed to know that she would be a mommy.

Today Bronson caught me completely off guard. I admit that I have been keeping my emotions under my sleeve. Not being able to spend Christmas with Ashley this year was harder than I imagined. I think it hurt worse because she mentioned that she hated to miss it if it was her last. I don't even let my mind go there. She is my baby sister. We are supposed to have many years together and share being mommies together. So this is why when out of nowhere Bronson appeared very somber on the couch and said that he really missed his brother my emotions got the best of me. He is far too young to explain his entire birth/pregnancy story with, but I know that he truly does feel a sense of loss at not having his brother. I notice the more and more he watches other sibling relationships he longs for what he doesn't have.

Tonight he got quite indignant with me when he asked to see pictures and I showed him the few ultrasound pictures that I have in an album. He wanted a picture of his brother. When I explained that   I didn't have one for the second time this week he got upset and asked why. The best answer I could give him was the honest one; Daddy and Mommy were too sad when we saw Jackson because we knew his spirit was already in heaven so we didn't take any pictures. This seemed to appease him, but  I know this will not be the last of these conversations. Does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with twin loss or sibling loss?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kings and Fairies

Christmas is bringing out the best stories from Bronson. He already sent a letter to Santa telling him that mommy should be on the naughty list and should not get any presents. When Kyle and I noticed that Santa had sent him the exact same letter back the second time we decided to ad lib the response and a Bronson was so excited to hear his Dad's added PS...I heard your mommy was naughty and unless it changes before Christmas she will stay on the naughty list. Bronson laughed so hard and celebrated by giving fist pumps to his daddy that is on the nice list.

As I was giving him a bath tonight he decided to tell me all about a project they are doing at school. He explained that they were making stables with baby Jesus. He ends the story by saying there was even animals, Mary, Joseph, the kings, and the fairies...I shook my head as I asked if he meant angels. Hahahaha

It should be very interesting this year because one of the gifts Bronson has asked for does not exist. When I told him that I had looked everywhere he nicely told me that he would just ask Santa because he could make anything. We were to going to be a crazy Santa house, but I sure love the imagination of a child.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Positive

Warning: This post is not positive; it is downright negative. After practicing positive thinking and trying to do "soul detoxing" from small group since Wednesday, I need to vent. Today all the little things are adding up to annoy me. I am annoyed by bloggers that use other's sad stories to monetize their blogs. I am once again brought back to a time when I googled my mother in law's name and discovered that someone had taken pictures of my sister in law's grave and was using it the picture for their art series. No one in my family felt that I was appropriate usage of a place so sacred and felt extremely violated.
Today I got the third offer from someone to purchase something that they made for my sister. I felt violated. Do I look like I have the time, energy, and/or need for your stuff? If you decide to make something for Ashley or a member of our family, please do so out of kindness vs to make a profit. Does anyone else find it rude to have someone make you something without you asking or giving consent and then ask for money? I think what set me off the most is to know that items with my sister's picture might be circulating in stranger's homes. I know that we had shirts made; but somehow it is different to know that people can copy and paste pictures from our site and use them to make a profit. I also find it creepy that people would want a stranger's picture hanging for their tree. Am I sensitive? Perhaps...Ashley has been my sister since I was two year's old an verbalized everything she wanted by the mere point of her finger. I was there for each childhood fight or argument over clothes, shoes, or CD. She was there for the day that I married my best friend, birthed my sons, and I had the honor to do the same. She is MY sister and somehow this violation just hurts too much. Sorry for the vent tonight, but part of my detoxing is getting the bad out tonight and with it crying a bucket of tears. I love my sister so much and I want her story to be one of encouragement and love. Please don't use it to tear our family down or put us in a position to feel violated. Please respect our privacy. I know what Ash would say right now; Amber, don't let it bother you. It isn't a big deal. I love you Ash, but tonight is my night to feel emotional and to fully rely on God for the strength to be nicer than others are to me. I am not strong, but The Lord is.


When I was younger (perhaps just 1 year ago) I was really bad at saying no. I am still not the greatest at saying no, but I have a better method of dealing with stress. I just try to ignore it. It is probably not the most mature or adequate way of dealing with it, but it helps me right now. One common way that I avoid stress is by not listening to voicemails; this totally annoys some of my friends. I also ignore text messages if my response would require too complex of an answer. Is this solution working for me? Probably not. Do I feel better ignoring stuff that annoys me? Yes, I do.

Social Media is very overwhelming to me lately. I am required to do a great deal with social media in my current position. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I realized that the page that I designed via facebook for our graduate programs still lacks 200 fans yet the page I created for my sick sister raised over 700 in just a few short weeks. People like drama (although I am not implying her page is dramatic). They also like to know other people's stories. Along with the overwhelming growth of Ashley's page we have had the good, bad, and the just plain ugly. When you open yourself to the public you open yourself up to criticism. I try to do everything in my personal power to keep the negative comments/feedback from getting to my sister. This doesn't always work. I can now count on both hands how many people have used my sister's situation to try to sell us their cream, lotion, pill, or even disease preventing chocolate. We do NOT want your stuff. We are just asking for prayers.

In an attempt to avoid hurting people's feeling we have also declined all recent offers for fundraisers. My sister's husband does a mighty fine job of providing for his family and Ash has amazing insurance. It does cost a great deal for her to travel back and forth to Portland, but with the generous sales and donations from our friends and family Ash is doing fine. I did open a medical account for her and some anonymous people have donated; that helps, but we are not seeking donations. When you put it out there that a fundraiser is going on it implies that she needs the money. Ash never wanted any money and appreciates each and EVERY generous gift or donation that has been made. This is where my overwhelming stress comes in. I HATE hurt people's feeling and I don't want them to think that I don't appreciate their offers for help, but my plate is seriously full and I can't don't want to add to that. Fundraisers and other events can't fit on my plate right now.

Thanks, but NO thanks!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five years

Five Years

I can't believe that tomorrow marks five years since your little heart stopped and you went to heaven. Sometimes I try to remember the exact way. Felt when I realized that I would carry your little body inside me until our little brother could be delivered. I remember cringing when people would rub my stomach or mention that I must be having twins because of how big I was (I don't think I was that large). I remember rewriting my birth plans over and over again because there was no way that I could imagine that day going exactly the way it should. I should have had two healthy, full-term twin boys to deliver.

It didn't matter what I wrote in my birth plan because just six weeks later your brother needed to come out quickly via c-section. When the nurse asked me what I wanted her to do with you I panicked and asked for you to be laid in my bed. (Mistake #1)...upon leaving the delivery room I was shocked and surprised to see several family members waiting with happy/worried expressions. I freaked out and begged for your daddy. I didn't want anyone to reveal the fact that your cold little body was laying at the foot of my bed. I wanted the moment that I saw and felt you for the first time to be with your daddy and I alone. God gave me such a sweet tender mercy when you were born; I heard the cries of your little brother as your daddy was able to hand carry him into the delivery room to show him off. We never imagined being able to hold Bronson right away let alone without cords in the delivery room. I firmly believe God allowed this to happen so that our focus would be off of the horrible truth.

Mistake #2 the nurse that was tending to me had never dealt with a stillborn baby before. There were protocols in place, but when I asked for you to stay with me she panicked and brought you with us. (You should have been cleaned, wrapped, and clothed). Your daddy came to be with us and we both trembled when we saw you. Your little body was so perfectly formed, you were so so tiny; yet I couldn't wrap my mind around you little face. (That face will always be in my memories and the fact that you had hair.) Jackson, I do not know if I touched you because I was so shocked to see my nightmares become a reality. You were not supposed to enter the world dead. Your daddy and I were supposed to be holding you and your brother side by side.

Mistake #3 when the nurse returned after removing you from our room. Details about our viewing remain private between your daddy and I...I freaked the heck out. I ripped any pictures that revealed your face. I regret this so much. The only picture I have of you is of your beyond tiny little feet. I regret to holding you; all 6.5 ounces. I didn't know a baby that small could be so perfectly formed.

Wrapping all my mistakes into a huge bucket I am choosing to toss the entire bucket out because the best thing about being your mommy is knowing 100 percent of the time that you are perfectly formed and perfectly safe. I kow that you are in heaven. I know that your little brother loves The Lord so much and that someday you two will spend enter its together with me and your daddy. Jackson, it would have been wonderful to know the 5 year old version of you, but I am so thankful that I knew you and our heartbeat for the nearly 23 weeks you lived. I will NEVER forget that you lived.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sensitive Heart

Look at the little hand in this picture placed gently on the back of Oaklen. My mind keeps coming back to this picture after looking at it yesterday during my photo edits The picture itself is a bit blurry, but it speaks volumes to my heart. Meet my heart, my sensitive heart. My heart that literally hurts when I see others struggling in their health, life, or just relationship troubles. I had a thought the other day that I can finally see why some people just choose to pack a small bag and leave reality for a couple of days. My heart is not this way because of depression or sadness, please don't get my sensitive heart confused with a sad one. I am asking God to give me a heart that is more loving, kind, and gentle. He has started answering my prayers and I realize that with this answered prayer a lot of things that I used to just ignore grieve my heart. I have actually had two opportunities in the past week to be more honest with my friends than I have in the past. Ash and I actually talked how we will sometimes silently be praying for others while they are talking to us because when we see their struggles it makes our hearts ache.

Last week I had a realization that a friend was headed down a serious destructive path. I realized that she was no longer the woman that I met nearly 5 years ago. Every time I see her I feel that she is more depressed than before hiding behind a fake smile. In the past I would have just taken the wordly view of "it's none of my business," but then I realized that this "broken" heart is one that Jesus wants to mend. She used to love the Lord so much and I realized that if I continued to say, "it's okay" while she continued to go down this destructive path she would continue to get worse. I finally prayed as she was talking to me and out of love told her that I was VERY concerned about her lifestyle and her heart. I told her that her focus needs to be on God first and then family. That I loved her tremendously, but not even a fraction of the amount that God loves her. I felt that we ended on a good note. I keep praying that perhaps I will hear from her soon and that some life changes are in progress.

Getting back to the little hand placed gently on his cousin's back. Imagine a very LARGE hand placed over our hearts. God can do that for us if we just ask. He is currently massaging my heart muscles into being more obedient to his commandments. Instead of turning a blind eye to others he is asking that I take a leap of faith and share the good news of His son, Jesus Christ. He is asking that I strive to be a better example in my relationships and that I continue to have a sensitive heart against sin and direct disobedience to His word.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Plans

I am the planner in our family. Name an occasion or special reason for celebration and I will have the whole event planned months in advance. I will admit that one of my highlights of the new school season is buying a new planner so that I can write all the special dates on my calendar and map out (with color coding) all of the events that I know in advance each year.

When I purchased my beautiful Tiffany's blue calendar for 2012 I wrote all of the special birthdays down, Bronson's anticipated 1st day of school, the beginning of fall term, and most importantly a HUGE highlighted note in the day of September year cancer free for Ashley. I looked forward to this day with the most anticipation and sadly as the day approached we already knew that there would be no celebrating that day. We are currently in the planning mode of three week cycles. I told Ashley today that The Lord has been speaking to me often lately and I feel confident that we will soon find ourselves planning in three month cycles, but it really draws me back to reality. I remember thinking that wasn't enough time and now I find myself praying for them.

There is some definite planning that no one ever wants to talk about, but I urge you to have with your loved ones. It shouldn't have to only come up because your loved one has terminal cancer; share your life wishes, share what you would expect others to do if you are called home to heaven, share what you really don't care about, just share. As the care giver or loved one let them share. It is not morbid; they need the freedom to share these things. For all medical purposes they have been told that they might not have the life expectancy that they once hoped to. Don't say, let's not talk about this, it will never happen. Ask them questions even if you are not ready for the answers. I am realizing how much I have to remind myself that they are not my plans, but His.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Four Girls

I have realized in the social media world that many people don't realize that there are 4 girls in my family. I am the oldest of four sisters. I thought it might be nice for me to introduce my family so that status updates and blog posts can be better understood. In this post I will introduce you to the 4 of us girls. Ashley and I do have a step-brother, James that has been our brother since we were 5 and 3; so if you hear us talk about our brother this is the guy. We also have  step-brother and step-sister from my mom's husband Chuck, but are not in immediate contact with either of them.

The oldest: Amber (31)

I am married to Kyle; my high school sweetheart. We began dating in 1997 and married after graduating from Western Oregon University in 2003. We are the proud parents of Bronson (nearly 5) and Jackson (angel in heaven). Kyle and I enjoy spending time with our family and friends and include Grace Community Church in Dallas part of our family. My next sister Ashley and I have the same dad, George. I am told that I look the most like my mom who is a recovery room nurse in Albany. 1st curly headed sister...

The second oldest: Ashley (29)

Ashley is married to Sgt. Joe Sult and lives in Redmond, OR. They have been together for nearly 6 years and have a beautiful 18 month old son, Oaklen McCrae. He is a little ginger baby that lights up everyone's life. Ashley graduated from beauty college in 2004 and has worked in a few different salons since then including one that she co-owned in Monmouth, OR. Joe and Ashley both had a great couple of years in Georgia where they made tons of friends and rekindled Joe's military career. He is currently a recruiter for the Army in Prineville. Ashley worked for Cougar Cuts in Prineville until finding out that her leioyomosarcoma had reared it's ugly head again. Ashley's niece and nephews call her She She. Ashley looks mostly like our dad. Ashley's hair is naturally straight and we are unsure of the natural color, but I am leaning towards brownish blond.

The nearly youngest baby sister: Alexis (24)

Alexis is the proud mommy of Olivia Brooke (nearly 6). There are exactly 1 year and 5 days that separate Olivia and Bronson's birthdays. Alexis and her significant other Jacob have been together since before Olivia and are happy to be having another baby boy due in February. Alexis is known as the funny sister. Her nephews all refer to her as Auntie Fay Fav aka Auntie Favorite. Her little girl looks like a mirror image of her with blond curls and big blue eyes while looking exactly like her daddy. Jacob makes us proud by working a very busy job with a crazy schedule in Alaska. They make their home in Albany where Lex gets to stay at home with her babies. Alexis has natural curls like her sister Amber, but loves to wear her hair straight. She also now has brown hair. Alexis looks mostly like her dad, Kyle.

The baby baby sister: Austin (18)...almost 19

Aussie is our baby sister. She gets a little tired of all of the unsolicited advice from her older sisters, but knows that we all ADORE her. She started kindergarten the same month that I started college. My mom also started going back to school for her RN at the time, so I got the privilege of taking her to her first day of kindergarten. Austin just had her first baby boy Hanson Charley Asher. Named after our grandpa and Ashley. Austin graduated early and plans to start college this winter after she has had time to adjust to being a mommy. She has naturally straight blond hair and is known by her niece and nephews as Te Te. Austin is known for her fashion sense and cuteness. She has always been into her hair being fixed just right and looked up to her sisters. Austin's dad is Chuck, my step-dad.

Our mom: Shellene

Our mom is a wonderful nurse that had always dreamed of going back to school and decided to take the leap when I started college. She is consistently requested by her patients and strives to be the best that she can be. She recently did a stint of time as an OR nurse, but enjoys doing outpatient surgery and infusion services. This training is coming in handy as she helps take care of her daughter Ashley. Our mom is also the oldest of four girls all with names starting with Sh. Our mom loves antiques and shopping, but the loves of her life are her grand babies and girls. It is amazing because each of us has a small part of our mom's personality. I got her looks, Ashley got her artistic ability, Lex got her dance moves, and Austin got her artsy/decorating sense.

We may not be perfect, but we are family and all love each other.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Little Things

I just cam back from spending the weekend with my baby sister. The most I can say about seeing your precious baby sister dealing with chemo is that no one can prepare you. I found myself savoring each little moment that I got to spend with her or my nephew. Since I have a child myself there is not many opportunities for me to spend one on one time with my nieces and nephews. Each little smile or precious hug that Oaklen gave me was all the more special. Some of the moments I witnessed him loving on his mommy will forever be burnt into my memory and held there for me to share when he goes off to college. He is a major mama's boy. It made me remember the moments not long ago when my kiddo was a super mama's boy.

God was preparing my heart for a special treat when I returned home from an emotionally exhausting weekend. My little boy told me over and over again how much he loved me, how I was the bestest, that I was precious and that he loved me so much. Bronson is always sweet to me, but I am realizing as he gets older that I see less and less of that need for me as he once did when he was little. It has been a major treat for him to tell me that his wish for this week is to have mommy time and that he can't wait for some cuddles. My little boy's hugs keep me going.

As I lay here next to him as he softly snores I am remembering some of the little things that seem so far away. I remember him wanting his little friend (kangaroo) to sleep with him. It seems like just yesterday that he required a lovey every night and requested cold sheets. It feels like each stage goes by way too quickly. It is hard to believe that he has been in preschool for nearly a month. Life is going by too quickly. I just want to pause it for a moment so I can capture the little things.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Praying for Ashley

This week has brought so many wonderful answered prayers. We are still holding out hope for even better news tomorrow after Ashley goes to Seattle. We are so thankful for each and every person that has sent us their prayers, love, and well wishes. Ashley's Facebook page has continued to rapidly gain friends and fans. We are so blessed to know that people from all over the world are praying for Ashley. Please continue to keep those prayers coming.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Strength Comes From

Years ago I posted a blog about breastfeeding that made some people upset. When I later wrote a blog apologizing I had a friend remind me that it is my blog for a purpose; to express my opinions, faith, and just to write. She said that you should NEVER have to apologize on your blog. In saying that I never want what I have written to purposely hurt or offend someone. I know that yesterday's blog could have come across as blunt or as a direct attack to someone dealing with cancer in their life. That was not my intention. The reason that two specific cancers were mentioned is that more than often when someone hears that a young woman has cancer they assume that is breast cancer. Also, there was a lot of confusion about the placement of her original tumor and many thought that the diagnosis was liver cancer. I wanted to clear the air. I will also admit that I struggle when I get emails from people sharing their horror stories of chemo and losing their loved ones.

In saying all of the above I will say that one of the most important life lessons that I have been taught is that NO ONE has the same story. I have been reminded of this over and over again in the arena of prematurity. Just because my son was born early does not mean that his story is the same as someone else. More often than not when I visit a parent in the NICU or provide support to a fellow preemie parent I just want them to know I am here for them. It is not my place to share stories unless they ask advice or for my opinion. I know that they are scared. I can try to imagine how they feel, but I am not them and do not know for sure. The same situation applies for cancer. When I found out that Ashley's cancer had come back I was at work and completely lost it. My dear friend and co-worker immediately dropped her work and came over to rub my shoulders and provide a hug. She didn't need to say anything. Her older brother just went home to heaven a couple of weeks ago because of cancer and the unspoken emotion between the two of us meant so much more. It is a hard life lesson to learn, but often the best words a person can hear is I am here for you, I love you, and I will pray for you. I know that those words provide a lot of strength.

My strength truly comes from the Lord. He has provided me with an amazing family and a great network of friends. I feel very loved. I know that the Lord doesn't give us cancer. I know that he doesn't want to see us suffer. He wants us to be with Him in heaven and if we have to face trials in our time here on earth to show someone that God exists, than I firmly believe it is the desire of His heart to use it as part of our testimony. Life is not easy; but I don't believe that it is supposed to be.

Isaiah 40:28-31  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,   the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,   and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;   they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;   they shall walk and not faint.

As you are praying for my sister there are tons of my friends and family that are also fighting their own battles with cancer. Let's pray specifically for these people and in general to pray for a cure for this HORRIBLE disease. Please pray for continued clear screenings for Peggy Lee, Shelia Wallace, and Jamie Olsen. Pray for  Bill Archibald and his continued battle with cancer. Pray for my co-worker Heather McDaniel that just celebrated 1 year cancer free. Pray for my dear co-worker Marie LeJeune's husband and father to their 4 kids, Nathan Meyer. Also, pray for Bob Bateman who battles this disease daily. Feel free to add your name to the list. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care if you have a family, friends, or a life ahead. God does care about your family, friends, and the life you have. God wants to provide healing, love, and strength during this horrible battle. Let's keep praying...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Another Day

Yesterday was my 31st birthday and I found myself saying the phrase, "just another day" several times. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I quite possibly might be hearing very bad news that evening. My sister Ashley and I had planned to spend the day together, but after hearing that her cancer was back on the 5th it was much more important that she went to her first oncology appointment instead.

When she called me right before dinner she hesitated to share the news, but I prompted her with the phrase again. Even though we both knew that her saying the following information would ever change it from being just another day. My baby sister has stage 4 terminal cancer. It is called leiomyosarcoma. It is NOT breast cancer, liver cancer, or whatever cancer your mother, father, brother, or sister has. (I say this kind of with irritation because I am SO tired of her cancer being compared to others.) I realize that cancer has touched so many people and that each person has a story that somehow identifies with hers, but it is not the same. This cancer is very rare and unfortunately has now became stage 4 with spots in both her lungs and liver. The original site of surgery has no regrowth.

What does this mean? This means that once again my sister is going to start the fight for her life. She is a natural fighter that still has hope and LOTS of fight in her. She will be getting a second opinion next Friday to see if there are any other options. She is such a vibrant beautiful wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend that no one wants to believe that there is nothing out there to take this all away. We are all choosing to pray with purpose that there is something better than the clinical study that she has been offered at OHSU.

How did she know? Ashley had been going in for check-ups every 3-4 months since her original surgery on September 8, 2011. The cancer was rediscovered during her annual check up on September 5, 2012. She did not have any symptoms prior to this. She still remains healthy and full of fight.

What you can do? Pray and pray some more. We all appreciate the love support and prayers. Eventually I will probably be asking for further help for tangible things once she begins chemotherapy. Ashley believes with her whole heart that the Lord will use this for His purpose and that her one wish is that no one's heart is hardened to Him after hearing this news. Our family remains faithful. None of us have lost hope or our faith. We will continue to pray for another miracle. It might sound selfish, but I firmly believe that God will provide my sister another miracle. Let's join together to pray for that one. Our directed prayer is that Ashley will survive and live the life that God intended for her to live. Hug your loved ones, let little things go. Our greatest commandment is to love one another and I plan on doing that each step of the way.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Little Man Goes to School

Our little boy started school on September 10th as excited as could be. He loves school, his friends, and his teacher. I know that he will have a great year at Grace Community Church's preschool. As he came down the steps on his first day he jumped into my arms and said that his day was great and that he listened very well. I think that his daddy took it kind of hard that Bronson didn't beg us to stay longer. I think he had the whole big boy routine covered.

Bronson brings pure joy to my heart and I am so thankful for him each and every day. The stories that he shares at night about his daily adventures are wonderful. His is bright beyond years and I can't wait to see him grow in life and intelligence as he begins his educational journey. I pray with all of my heart that he continues to love school as much as his mommy.

I spoke to my director the next day after Bronson began school about how his desire to be certain things when he grows up keeps changing. He has continued to say that he wants to be a police officer, but I also found it interesting that his only complaint about school was that he was hoping to hear and learn more about God. I explained to him that he would have chapel days that would devote time to that. He said, "Mommy, that is the most important thing for me to learn." It opened my eyes to pray with even more purpose for my son. We don't often hear people saying that they wish their sons to grow up to be pastors, but why don't we. I will pray that my son loves the Lord, his family, and seeks a profession that he loves and can use his faith to serve others.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bronson Stories

When asked to go bowling he thought we asked him to go bullying and accepted but thought it was a bit weird that we were asking him to play fight all night.

When he prays he thanks the Lord for sending his son to die for us.

Does not forget anything and constantly uses movie lines in appropriate conversations.

Is at the age where he repeats EVERYTHING. Latest embarrassing moment was when he pointed at an older waitress at a local restaurant and asked if she was the "crappy waitress." so bad for so many reasons.

Told me not to stress about him starting school because he is excited and will be learning a lot.

Apparently his daycare provider is a really good wife because she finds things for her kids and listens well. Mommy and his daycare provider's husband are okay, but not the best like Daddy and Jenny because we sass our kids. We are guessing the sassing means we tell them what to do. (According to Bronson)

He uses his hands to get the point across and consistently repeats phrases that we say to him when we are frustrated or trying to discipline him. The latest was, Mommy what is up with your attitude this morning? Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? (He gets in trouble when he is disrespectful, but sometimes I also struggle not to laugh)

The latest funny moment was his philosophy on children; he calmly told us he doesn't mind other kids but just can't stand when kids are constantly crying about stupid things. He says this is his reason for liking older kids better.

Changed Man

If someone would have told me last year that my dad would be one of the biggest pillars in my life, I would not have believed them. Although my regular visits had went well with him the cynic in me (partially the CJ academic in me) had never seen someone completely recover while in the CJ system. I am very joyful to say that God is bigger than any criminal justice theory or rehabilitation program. My dad knows Jesus Christ and has let Him completely change his life. He truly is a new man. I reflected on this during my personal time this week when I realized that the old dad is GONE. I am so happy to see all of his anger, hurt, and frustration replaced with love, joy, and Peace. God is sooo good. I think with my dad's permission I will ask him to share his testimony on here soon. I am so thankful for the relationship that I now have with my dad and that he is the dream come true Grandpa to my son and nephew. God has answered my prayers beyond my requests. Sometimes the response might require a huge trial, but God NEVER fails.

As I spend some time reflecting this week on the past year I will close with one of the hardest phone calls I have ever had to make and how God already had it under control. Last year on August 10th my baby sister received the news that she had cancer. My dad was not in a position to go and visit. When I shared the news with him over the phone his response was calm and he instantly began praying God's promises. He kept me from losing it and reminded me that God would provide healing. I believe that my dad spent the majority of the next month in round the clock prayer and my sister was healed. I am so thankful that God provided such a peace and showed me in this interaction that my dad had changed. The old dad would have freaked out; the new dad reassured me with scripture and prayer. Of course no one is perfect but I am so thankful to say that the Lord has made my dad a new man.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012

Our family vacation started with VBS Sunday. Our little man performed in his first church service and was beyond adorable! Ashley brought Oaklen over for a visit that afternoon and we had so much fun having him to ourselves for a sleepover and fun at Wacky Bounce the next day!

Wacky Bounce was fun, but we made for an even more memorable evening at the Drive-In with Grandpa when Bronson puked promptly 10 minutes before the movie Brave started. It was caused by a choking episode, but still made for quite the memory.

The next day we headed out to the beach to stay at Beverly Beach and camp with Summer, Ayden, and Alanna. It was a fun trip except we had to leave promptly at 2am because Bronson had a very bad reaction to the camp fire and couldn't stop coughing.

Because of the possibility that Bronson was actually sick we canceled our 4th of July BBQ and had my dad over to celebrate with us. It was a fun BBQ and fireworks kind of night!

The next day Bronson and I went swimming at Otter Beach while Kyle worked on our free truck!
The next day Bronson and I went swimming with our friend Jenn at the country club. We had lots of fun!

Saturday of vacation week was our annual Philomath Car Show. This year we barely got the Corvette ready because of a major foul with one of the parts. I say we, because I actually drove down to Junction City to get the part. We had fun, but the heat was a bit too much!

The last day of our vacation was the best. We spent the evening in our backyard on the Slip n' Slide and had a nice BBQ. Kyle doesn't remember much of the great part of this day because he ended up sick at 2am and the following day I had to take him the ER to get fluids. Overall, we had a great and memorable vacation. What more could we ask for?