Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ropes Course

I bet you don't know many thirty-something married couples who celebrate their anniversary by doing a ropes course together. Well, that's exactly what we did a few weeks ago! And it was stinkin' awesome!

Daniel and I had actually purchased a "Groupon" for this several months ago, and our ninth anniversary was the perfect occasion to redeem it.

I have always LOVED doing things like this, but I was a little nervous that I wouldn't be as strong as I used to be. But I was pretty pleased with how this ole girl did. :)

Daniel was about 50 feet up at this point

I love this picture! We were both standing on wires that gradually became farther and farther apart. We had to lean forward into each other in order to keep from falling.

Walking over the telephone poles. This was WAY highter than it looks in the photo. And they SWAYED! The trick was to just keep moving...

Daniel on the poles. I'm so glad that I married a man who is willing to do this kind of stuff with me.

Daniel on the falling-apart rope bridge high up in the trees. I loved this one!

The second half of our anniversary get away was a trip to go white water rafting on the Ocoee River in East Tennessee. No photos from that one, unfortunately, but that day was just as fun as our ropes course day.

Happy anniversary, Daniel!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Surgery Is Over!

Mom’s surgery is over, and we are so thankful. The surgeon said that the mass was about the size of a peach. It was bigger than expected, and he had to do a lot of cutting and a lot of repair work. It was more complicated than anticipated, (he said it was “a booger”) but he felt like everything went well.

She will be in ICU for two days probably and then in the hospital until Saturday or Sunday.

They are concerned about the risk of stroke and bleeding for the next few days, but we trust that everything will be fine.

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wonder of a Child

We are just hanging out, waiting for mom's surgery around here. She is doing great. Seriously, I don't think the cardiology floor has ever seen a patient filled with so much joy. She knows that God has been taking care of her, and she has confidence that everything is going to be just fine.

While we are waiting, I thought I would share some happiness.

When we asked Madeline what special thing she would like to do for her third birthday (back in March), she informed us that she wanted to ride a train. So we took her to ride the Music City Star - the local commuter train in Nashville.

This video captures her excitement mixed with nervousness as she watched the train approach. I have watched it probably 100 times and it fills me with joy every time. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unexpected News

So my mom has a tumor in her heart. I hope she's not mad at me for broadcasting this in so public a way, but I felt the need to share.

Yesterday morning at 9:30 I was driving home from a quick trip to Dollar General to buy a swimming pool float when "Mom" popped up on my caller ID. I heard the tension in her voice - "Where are you right now?....Well I have some news to share...."

She was still at the cardiologist.

"My doctor just did an echocardiogram, and I have a mass growing in my heart."


"Dad is on his way, and the doctor is sending me straight to the hospital and scheduling the surgery as soon as possible."

Well, this was pretty much last on the list of things I was expecting to happen on Friday June 24th, 2011.

I guess that's how it goes, though. Nobody is expecting that it will happen TODAY. We all know that eventually something is going to happen to us, our spouses, our parents - disease, accidents, eventually death. Just not today, right?

I try desperately to live life intentionally. To live with the end in mind and with a constant awareness of how temporary this life is. I strive for this to be a theme of my life - to do what matters so that I will not have regrets.

Then the unexpected "tragedy" occurs and I am just as blindsided as everyone else is when it happens to them.

Listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city and spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
-James 4:13-15

I share all this to say: Hug your kids, go on a date with your spouse, call your mama. Your "today" will come. Maybe it's not TODAY. I hope not. But live with the end in mind every single day.

But anyway, the rest of the story: My mom has a atrial myxoma. It nearly fills her left atrium and spills into the left ventricle. 99% of the time, this type of tumor is non-cancerous. The surgery to remove it will be Tuesday, and the prognosis is extremely good.

We have seen God's hand at work in many ways already. It's practically a miracle that the tumor was even discovered. Often this type of tumor is not found until part of it breaks off and causes a stroke. Many other details about her current situation make it apparent that God is taking care of her in this. What a comfort that he knows in advance what is going to happen. Our God is never blindsided by "today"!

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

- Psalm 23:4

He is always with us and we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS in death or in life, in illness or in health through Christ Jesus. He is with us and works all things for our good, according to his purposes. We trust him!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ballet Recital

Three-year-old Madeline's dream came true when she received the gift of "real" ballet lessons for her third birthday. Her ballet class at the YMCA has been one of the highlights of each week for the past three months. The teacher, Ms. Sonja, does an amazing job of corralling a dozen three and four year olds who are more interested in wearing leotards and tutus than actually learning any dance skills.

Today was the big day that we had all been anticipating - her first ballet recital!

The tutu only stayed on for a few minutes before being cast aside.

Jumping skills!

Doing the "Shake a Leg" dance

Playing afterwards with some of the other girls from her class. Benjamin thinks he is just one of the girls. :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Year

One year ago today….we had just made it through our first night at home with Benjamin and were utterly exhausted.

We had a confused two-year-old girl, not sure what this little brown boy was doing in her house and why he was taking all her parents’ attention away.

We had a nine-month-old baby boy who couldn’t yet roll over, much less crawl or walk.

Benjamin was extremely insecure and fragile. We couldn’t put him down and definitely couldn’t walk away for even a minute. Bathroom breaks and breaks to eat meals were hard. Tending to Madeline’s needs even harder. Cooking or cleaning were completely out of the question.

We were very nervous about the transition to being an inter-racial family. Our first few trips out into public were very nerve-wracking.

Today…we are 366 days into life as a family of four.

Benjamin is now the best sleeper EVER. He sleeps 11-12 hours straight every night and naps 3-4 hours every day. Yes, that’s right - I get a 4 hour nap out of him at least once a week.

Madeline doesn’t remember life without Little Brother, and she is very used to sharing attention and toys with Benjamin. (Not that she likes it any more than she used to….but that’s for a different blog post.)

Benjamin is twenty-one months old and is now walking (finally started at 19 months!) and feeding himself and communicating better every day.

Benjamin has “arrived” as far as attachment and security goes. He loves other people and is very social, but he also clings appropriately to his mama and daddy. He loves to cuddle and be rocked and is very affectionate. I honestly don’t think he has any insecurities other than just the normal age-appropriate separation anxiety.

We have had exactly ZERO negative experiences in dealing with other people’s reactions to us as an inter-racial family. Everywhere we go, people are drawn to Benjamin’s magnetic personality and flirtatious smile. He gets tons of attention out in public, and it has all been good. We’ve also had lots of opportunities for new relationships because of the new dynamic of our family. I never even think about watching other people out of the corner of my eye anymore to see how they are reacting to us. It doesn’t even cross my mind.

Yes, it has been a hard year. A really hard one. But the Lord has blessed us tremendously. We have come so far!

June 12th, 2010

June 12th, 2011