50 / 52 – The Double Gap
Dec
19

50 / 52 – The Double Gap

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The Double Gap.  An occasion worth documenting!  A reminder to me that time itself will both bring and take many things in this life.  And yet, time itself is what I should treasure.

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I feel like Ethan has grown at least a couple inches since we arrived in Ireland!  He lost the first front tooth just a couple days after we moved. He’d been wiggling them for months.  The second one came out a few weeks ago.  Now the long awaited double gap means an exaggerated lisp (he’s always had an adorable, slight one!), more fun drinking from a straw, and the ability to wish for his two front teeth for Christmas!

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To look at him, he’s all boy – running and playing, pretending, constantly beat boxing :)  The last little bit of baby is slowly fading away.  Seven and a half.  You think I’d be over it :)

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He holds his own with his brother, with most other children.  He likes his own things, surprises me with his vocabulary almost daily, and actually knows how to tell real jokes (not just ones that are funny because he’s cute!)

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But he’s still scared of the dark, still takes my hand when we walk, and picks me flowers everywhere we go :)

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I’m thankful for life and days together with these boys, and hope that we’ll make the most of each one, filling them to the brim with intentional interaction, eye contact, joy, discipleship.  And when the baby days have finally all gone, I hope the sweetness of days well spent will make their loss less bitter and the future fuller.

Sometimes they already look like young men.

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24 / 52 – Scribbler
Jun
18

24 / 52 – Scribbler

Hi All!  This is sort of a ministry update/Project 52 post.  So it doesn’t look like we’ll be heading to Ireland in July like we were originally planning/hoping.  We had a meeting with some of the missions leadership from our sending church a few weeks ago, and there are some things that are just not it place yet for us to be able to go.  I know the Lord is working out everything in His own time and way, but that was a really difficult meeting.

When you are called to the mission field (or maybe anything the Lord calls you to) there’s so much you don’t know.  There are people that can help you, be there for you, share their experiences maybe.  But you’re kind of walking your own path with the Lord, and I think that’s how He means it to be.

There’s so much in this journey that has been incredible, miraculous even.  We have seen God do impossible things, show up and take care of us in crazy unexpected ways.  And I trust (most days at least!) that He will continue to be God and remind me of my frailty, that He’ll show us He delights in doing for us what we cannot (and don’t have to) do for ourselves!  What kind of a Father would He be if He didn’t take care of His own?  It’s His heart to, and I’m learning that in deeper ways in this season.

All that to say, life feels like a game of red light, green light right now.  So much is up in the air, and yet there is so much to be faithful in.  The Lord has definitely been encouraging us, showing us things that we need to give attention to.  The process right now is day to day, and I’m learning to be okay with that.

I know this sentiment is true for Branden and I, and it’s true for the boys.  This general feeling of moving forward while having to sit still.  It’s not always an easy place to be, and yet it’s where Jesus calls us to be right now.

Ethan, my always sweet, easy, funny little boy has had a few rough days as of late.  He’s also just truly at this in between stage of baby and big boy.  He still wants to cuddle, still cries when he gets scared at night.  But he talks like a big kid, plays like a big kid, and for the most part, keeps up with his older brother.

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Lately I’ve noticed he can be easily agitated.  Instead of coming to us for help when Silas upsets/messes with/tackles him, he reacts quickly and often with some force.  Now I know, he’s a boy.  Boys can be rough. But it’s been a definite change for him.

The other day, we were at a park.  Silas, true to his people loving personality, quickly found another boy his age and started to play a round of tag.  It wasn’t long before Ethan came to me whining and frustrated.

“I hate tag!”

The word “hate” has recently been blacklisted in our house.  Thoughtless use of it earns a consequence.

“Why don’t you have a conversation about it?”

“Silas always wants to play things I don’t like!  I know he won’t listen!

More extreme statements.

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“Well, I think you should talk to him.  Or is there something you want to play by yourself?”  I meant it as an encouragement, but there was no reasoning with him.  He had decided the situation was unfair and there was no solution.  He spent the next twenty minutes moping/arguing with his brother.  Silas offered to play other, more Ethan centered games, but in the end, Ethan’s mind was made up.  He wasn’t going to play.

Eventually he came back to the park bench I was sitting at, exasperated.  No encouragement would sway him.  Silas came over to help but to no avail.  Ethan looked down and found a piece of white sidewalk chalk someone had left behind.  He bent down and picked it up.

“Do you want to draw?” I asked.

He nodded.

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Silas quickly found a purple piece of chalk nearby.  “Here you go; now you have two!”  Ethan seemed satisfied, and big brother went back to climbing the playground equipment.

Ethan put the chalk to the sidewalk.  He began moving it back and forth with quick, sharp movements.  No pattern, no picture.  Just broad, forceful strokes.

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“Why don’t you draw a picture Ethan?” I suggested.

“I just feel like scribbling Mom.”  He wasn’t being disrespectful.  He was being honest.

Ethan scribbled on the pavement for another ten minutes.  He noticed that his hands had taken on the periwinkle hue of the chalk he’d been eroding.  He held up his palms to show me.  A few more quiet minutes of coloring passed, and his mood had changed.  I guess some scribbling time is what he needed.

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Some days I feel like that too.  Frustrated, discouraged, unreasonable.  As if life itself might swallow me whole.  The solution for me isn’t scribbling.  Sometimes is crying or talking.  Or maybe the more accurate combo of blubbering!  Eventually, it’s praying.  And Jesus is always waiting.  He understands us, leaves room for us to be upset, to let it out, to learn.  If I’ll listen, I can hear Him speaking.  And somehow the sound of His voice is the difference.

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Sometimes He means for us to be weak, not so that we are overwhelmed, but that we come to know His heart to carry us.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   – Isaiah 41:10

18 / 52 – Seven
May
07

18 / 52 – Seven

I remember the day Ethan was born.  I had gotten sick with preeclampsia and we had to be induced three weeks early.  The pregnancy had already been stressful, but I was a mess at the news we’d be delivering nearly a month early.  We already had a one year old in the house, the crib wasn’t even put together yet, and I was still warming up to thought of having two full time diaper wearers!

Branden and I hadn’t settled on a name yet.  He had a list and I had a list, but no matches.  Pulling into the hospital parking lot that day, Branden said, “Just pick the name you love the most and that’ll be it.  But I get to pick the next one!”

“I love Ethan.” I said without hesitating.

“What about the middle name?” he asked.

“Cole.  Ethan Cole.”

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I don’t remember much about the induction.  I’m sure everything went just as it was supposed to – checking in, settling into our room, getting hooked up to all the monitors.  I have high blood pressure, which is what led to the preeclampsia, so some special precautions were being taken.  The anesthesiologist came in to give me my epidural.  I remember Branden wanting to watch (no thanks!)  The anesthesiologist let him as long as he was sitting down.  He told Branden that if he fainted, he wasn’t going to be able to help him up!

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I was progressing with the medicine.  Soon my doctor came in to break my water.  We had a short exchange about how I didn’t want to end up with a c-section.  He reassured me I was at very little risk since my labor with Silas only lasted 8 hours.  He broke my water and stepped out of the room.

The nurse that was with me put an internal monitor on Ethan’s head.  Within seconds I remember her saying how the baby didn’t like something.  She asked me to get on my hands and knees.  I’m sure I looked at her with complete confusion.  Wires were running from me to several machines, and my epidural was in full effect!  She didn’t wait for me.  I’m not sure how, but she grabbed my ankles and within seconds, I was on all fours!

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Branden and my mom were the only ones in the room with us at the time.  I remember my mom starting to cry.  She came to the bed, kissed my forehead, and said she was going to step out.  We have a long history of women with high blood pressure in our family, and I knew she was scared.  So was I.

A team of five or six women burst into the room.  They were all yelling at each other.  Wires were unhooked and the bed began to move.  We were going to an operating room.

I remember just crying at this point, not knowing what was happening, if my baby was okay, if Branden was going to be with me when I delivered.  The OR was chaotic and loud.  Things were happening without me.  I could see my doctor getting into his operating gear.  I was moved onto a new bed and quickly prepped for surgery.  A nurse came and put an oxygen mask over my face.

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“What’s happening?”  I was still crying.

“Your baby’s heart rate dropped, but it’s starting to come up.  Can you hear it?”

I listened for that familiar “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” of the heartbeat through the machine.  I could hear it.

“We have to get your baby out right now,” she said calmly.

The anesthesiologist I had seen an hour or so before was standing at the head of my bed.  He was yelling into the room, “Do I put her out?  Do I put her out?”  No one was answering him.  “Do I put her out?!”

“Just put her out!” someone yelled back.

I looked up at the nurse.  “Can my husband come in here?” I asked desperately.

“I’m sorry, no.”

And I was out.

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The next few hours were less chaotic, but equally emotional.  I woke up to a new room, a new nurse, Branden and my mom, but no baby.  He was fine, being monitored because of the stressful delivery, but it was hours before I got to meet or hold him.

Branden told me later that it was only about 15 minutes between the time they wheeled me out of the room to when they handed him the baby, all cleaned up and swaddled.  A video was taken of our families meeting him and of Branden sharing the name we’d picked for him that morning.

The next day my doctor came in to check on me.  He explained that Ethan’s cord had been wrapped around his body five times – more times than the doctor had ever seen in his ten years of delivering babies!

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We stayed in the hospital almost a week.  My blood pressure needed to be monitored, new medicine figured out, and there was a list of things that needed to be “checked off” before we were discharged.

In the wake of it all, I remember finally getting home and walking through the unexpected events of Ethan’s birth.  Branden said, “Maybe it needed to happen that way, so you would know that no matter what, God is in control.”

Later I remember the Lord speaking to me about it, helping me realize that getting sick and having to deliver earlier likely saved both Ethan’s and my life.  If my water had broken at home (as it did with Silas), neither of us would probably have made it.

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God is so good, isn’t He?  Saving us before we even know we need it?

We always have our plans, our ideas, expectations.  But God is quietly working things out the way they need to be.  So often I realize in hindsight how little faith I’ve had.  But there is no condemnation or “I told you so” booming from Heaven.  Only grace, and a love that chooses to keep walking with me.

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When the fog lies low on the path ahead, and I am unsure or even afraid.  When I’m full of doubt or feeling frantic because I have no control (I do like control!) I need to remember, I belong to God – the One that would let nothing keep me from Him!  Whatever His plans might include, they are for my ultimate good, not harm, and for His glory.  I am safe with Him.

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And Ethan :)  He’s seven!  He was spoiled by so many in Texas as we traveled through and then here in Colorado when we got home!

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He’s this amazing combination of cleverness and innocence, still excited at the things he’s learning about the world around him!  He’s funny and quirky and loves music.  He’s embarrassed easily but also loves to make people laugh.  He still likes to snuggle, which makes me happy :)  He’s little and big at the same time.  Maybe I’ll always feel that way, but it’s true today!

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Happy seventh birthday sweet boy!

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