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Archive - January, 2009

Ella says….

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Ella keeps saying she’s going to marry me. It’s real cute, but I keep telling her I’m a one woman man.Ella says....

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Here I raise my Ebenezer

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Praise God for what He has done and for what is yet to come!


As you all know, we’ve just moved…..totally relocated.  New house, new surroundings, new shopping spots, everything is new!  Our perspective is yet again, renewed.  I’ve just got to tell you what the Lord has done….

About a month ago, I got an idea into my head that through our move, the Lord was going to reveal Himself to us in a major way.  The more I sought after that thought, I began to think that He was going to show us a sign- a major sign- that directly related to Down Syndrome.  A sign that would be confirmation for us that we did the right thing in moving, as Seth’s education and care were of high priority with the relocation.

I like my new neighborhood!


Stop right there.  Give me a second to explain my faith.  I have never relied on “signs and wonders” from God in exchange for my belief in Him.  Yes, He does them- He performs miracles every day.  But He doesn’t owe me that.  That’s not real faith- real faith is saying, “Lord, whatever may come in life- good or bad- whatever you choose to do or not to do- I believe in you and I will love you.”‘ That has always been my heart, and all the more in the past year as I’ve leaned into Him for my daily bread.  God doesn’t owe me a “sign.”  His grace is sufficient for me, and that grace, I don’t even deserve.

Back to the story.  Nonetheless, I really felt an urging from the Holy Spirit that a sign was on it’s way.  A bit skeptical myself, I didn’t share this with anyone!  I didn’t tell Joel or even my mom for that matter.  I just kept it to myself and wondered.  I would wake up in the night and wonder what on earth it could be….I’d imagine either the buyer of our home or the seller of our new home having a child with Down Syndrome.  I imagined a neighbor having a child with DS.  “Ok, God- that would be the ultimate!  A neighbor kid with DS.  What could be more obvious than that?”  My mind would go back and forth as to what it could be.  I finally resolved myself to just wait for it.

The week of the move arrived and I was getting excited…..about everything!  But I wanted to see what the Lord was going to do.  Closing day arrived and I started “fishing” in every conversation with every person at the title company.  Sure enough, in my conversation with our buyer and her agent, I found out that they were both full-time speech therapists.  Thanks to all of Seth’s therapies, we are now very familiar with the role speech therapy will have in his development, so we dove into conversation about it.  They knew by Seth’s pictures in our home that he had DS, they worked with DS kids every day!  

“Well, there you go!” I thought.  “Thanks, Lord.  That was a sweet little tidbit.  Not EXACTLY what I was thinking or hoping for, but okay.  After all, what was I thinking- a sign???”

After three hours of signing my name in every form imaginable and talking about a bunch of stuff that I didn’t really understand, we’d sold and bought a house.  With grandmothers furiously packing and taking care of the babies at home, Joel and I asked for the best local seafood recommendation and found ourselves enjoying shrimp gumbo and key lime pie for lunch.  Before the meal was over, I looked across the restaurant and saw a mom and her daughter enjoying lunch.  

“Huh!  What do you know?  The daughter has DS!  That’s neat.  Ok, Lord.  That was a little more what I was thinking.  That’s just sweet of you, Lord.”

I started to cry.  After all, I was exhausted, stressed, emotional, you name it!  And then I had to explain it all to Joel.  I told him what had been on my heart for the past month and how I didn’t say anything to him about it because I didn’t want him or anyone else to think I was crazy.  I told him about how I could just see myself eating lunch with Seth when he’s all grown up, just like that mom and her daughter.  I laughed at how they’d ordered fancy drinks with umbrellas in them and how we’d surely spoil him to death once our other kids were grown and gone.  Then I told Joel that secretly, I was thinking and hoping that one of our neighbors would have a kid with DS….that’s the “sign” that I was looking for, but the conversation at the title company and the family at the restaurant were good enough.  He agreed- it was sweet of the Lord to give me those two little tidbits.  Just a little something I could carry with me through the day and coming weeks- it was good enough for me!  I called my mother to relay all of the details.  She thought it was pretty neat too….

Moving day arrived.  With the help of a lot of really good friends, we loaded the moving truck and our cars like jigsaw puzzles and headed to the new house!  After ordering enough pizza to keep the worker bees buzzing, I pulled into the driveway.  I took a deep breath- this was home!  Our first day of a new chapter.

As I stepped out of the car, I looked into the cul-de-sac and saw a little boy dart out of his garage, bouncing a basketball and talking to his dad and big sister.  My heart jumped into my throat and I locked in on him.  Time froze for a moment.  I wanted him so badly to have Down Syndrome.  But….he looked so normal.  He was playing basketball!  He was running around and laughing…..just being a kid.  I studied him.  And suddenly, his face turned toward me and my heart stopped.  His eyes.  His eyes were little rainbows.  His eyes looked just like Seth’s eyes!  Could it be??  YES!  HE HAS DOWN SYNDROME!  THE KID WHO LIVES TWO HOUSES DOWN FROM US HAS DOWN SYNDROME!!! 

I couldn’t catch my breath.  I started to sob and ran into the house yelling for Joel.  He was trying to install the washer and dryer- his buddies were working all through the house.  But what do I care?  Look at what the Lord has done!

Breathless, I pieced it out as best as I could, “Joel!  Joel!  Joel!  He has DS!  The boy- (pointing) there’s a boy- in the cul-de-sac- he lives next to us- he has Down Syndrome Joel!  I’m sure of it!  He looked right at me!  His eyes are like Seth’s!!!!  I TOLD you Joel!  I TOLD you yesterday this was going to happen!  Didn’t I tell you!  Look what the Lord has done!  This is AMAZING!”

Joel was worn out.  But he couldn’t believe it.  “Yeah, you did tell me that yesterday.  Unbelievable!  Are you sure?  This is crazy!?”

What a moment.  Never in my life have I ever felt more like I was dead center in God’s will for my life.  Bull’s eye.  I am still in awe and it still moves me to tears to think of what He did for us- for me- in all of this.  

He’s the same God.  The same God that created the world.  The same God that spoke to Moses in a burning bush.  The same God that blew down the walls of Jericho with the sound of horns and shouts.  The same God that came to earth in the form of a man.  The same God that spoke a word and the oceans and winds obeyed.  The same God that at a word or a touch healed thousands.  The same God that died on a cross and rose from the dead- Hallelujah!  The same God of the Bible is REAL.  He is Emmanuel- still God with us!  He still speaks, He still works, He still moves.
For us, this is an Ebenezer– a stake in the ground.  A marker of our faithful journey with the Lord.  And I assure you, I would still have served Him and loved Him if He’d given me no sign at all.  Isn’t it incredible that He would give us that?  Praise God that He chose to speak to my soul and work in my heart to reveal Himself- His power- to me in that way.
I have reflected on it over and over.  And I will continue to go back to it for days, weeks, months and years to come.  That little boy?  He’s precious and so is his family.  I wiped off my tears and ran to meet them as quickly as I could.  They’ve been so generous to help us in any way- what a resource they will be to us- what support.  It’s overwhelming.  The Lord hand-picked this house for us- he picked our neighbors.  He allowed our home to be robbed last fall to set the entire move into motion.  I clearly see His purpose in that now.  He works all things for the good.
I don’t know your situation.  I’m sure it’s far different from mine.  I don’t know your hurt or your struggle, but everyone has something, and if you don’t, it’s just a matter of time.  Let me encourage you in saying that I know the Lord has master planned your life, just as He has mine.  He knows where the hurt started and He knows when it will end.  He knows the next chapter in your life.  He’s already got it figured out.  You just have to walk through it.  Walk every day clinging to Him for your daily bread, your strength.  Prayerfully consider your decisions and faithfully walk through the doors He’s opened for you.  He may never speak to you in the way that He did me….He may never speak to me in that way again either, and that’s okay.  I assure you that He’s interested in you.  He wants to be that involved in your life…..He wants you to recognize that every detail He’s orchestrated for His glory.  And if you don’t know Him personally, drop us a note so we can have the privilege of leading you to Him.
Life comes down to one thing:  Love God.  He loves you more than you can imagine.
-Emily
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We’re Moved!

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Just wanted to put a quick note out in blogger land to let you know
that we’re all moved in and happy to be here! The new house is
beautiful and is already starting to feel like home thanks to Mimi’s
help and fabulous decorating skills. We’ll be painting in the next
month, so everything will be rearranged again, but we’re grateful to
at least know where forks and towels and socks and princesses are at
this point. Ella is finishing her antibiotics from the ear infections
and is doing MUCH better! Seth is hanging on to the cough and we’ve
got one ear completely cleared up….still working on another one with
antibiotics. Momma is on her second round of antibiotics to clear up
a tough sinus infection, but I’m feeling much better now that I’ve
been able to rest rather than pack or unpack. Thanks SO much to both
of our mothers and all the friends who helped us in the last few
weeks. We couldn’t have done it alone- praise God for people that
love us.

Stay tuned for an AWESOME story about God’s faithfulness in this whole
move. I want to take time to sit and write out what He’s done for us,
but haven’t carved out enough time yet.

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Video: Flasback – Ella at 8 months

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This deserves a trip down memory lane.

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House of sickness

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Ella has a double ear infection.  Seth has bronchiolitis as confirmed by the pediatrician on Saturday.  Ella gets to enjoy the first round of antibiotics of her life.  Seth gets breathing treatments every six hours and constant nose suctioning the rest of the time.  All of this and we'll be moving in 5 days.  Pray that this household gets to feeling better before then.

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Chocolate Pie for Lamandra

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My good buddy Lamandra is an excellent pie maker…..peanut butter pie
is her forte. SO, my friend, this is one to add to your recipe box:
Chocolate Pie
1 refrigerated pie crust, baked and cooled 4 tbsp flour 1 cu sugar 1/4 tsp salt 2 cu milk 3 egg yolks 1/2 cu cocoa 1 tbsp butter 1 tsp vanilla
Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add milk and cook slowly over low
heat. Wisk in cocoa until well incorporated. Beat egg yolks (you
might temper them first) and stir into hot mixtures. Cook until thick
(constantly wisking is the key). Remove from heat and add butter and
vanilla and stir until melted. Cool and pour into a baked pie shell.
Meringue: 3 egg whites 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp vanilla 6 tbsp sugar
Add salt and vanilla to egg whites; beat until very foamy. Add sugar,
1 tbsp at a time. Beat until smooth and glossy. Cover the pie with
meringue and bake 10 minutes at 350 or until golden brown. Let it
cool completely before cutting into it to avoid “soupy pie…..” (but
it still tastes good that way!)

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Time for an update….

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Well, I guess it’s time for an update from our crew- I can’t remember the last time I wrote something!

Christmas was great- Joel took off two weeks and we hung out at home with the kids, mostly.  A few days before Christmas, we took Ella and Seth to the mall to visit Santa-man.  She was a big talker until we were the next ones in line….then she started backing out.  However, after much encouragement and a nice “elf” named Veronica, she did it!  Seth was totally cool about the whole thing and couldn’t understand why Ella would get so anxious about it.  (He is his father, she is her mother.)
We attended the Christmas Eve service at our church and were asked to light an advent candle/read Scripture together as a family.  To be honest, I wish they would have just asked me to sing a 10-minute solo.  Truly, I was nervous about the whole thing up until the minute we were walking off stage.  Let me set the scene:  A stage well-lit with candles (fire), Joel’s full attention on reading the Bible, I’m holding sleeping Seffy on my shoulder (he’s heavy and slipping because my other free hand is….), holding Ella’s hand and talking quietly to her, reassuring her that’s she’s doing a good job and to stay quiet and still.  She spots herself on the jumbo screen and snickers a little bit, but then daddy finished reading.  Praise God it is over!  We ran home and set out cookies/milk for Santa and reindeer food for Rudolph.
Christmas morning arrived no earlier than usual (that was our gift), so Ella girl found baby Ariel waiting for her under the tree around 8:30 that morning.  We opened gifts (Ella opened ALL the gifts), dressed and left for Nanna and Pappy’s new farm out in the country.  We had a great time with them for a few days, fishing, riding the tractors with Ella and just being still for a while.
The days following, Joel and I put our noses down and packed the majority of the house. With 12 days to go before closing, I’ve got lists and post-its and a continuous stream of things to remember in my head.  The house is completely turned upside down and stripped down of all decor, so it all feels a bit strange.  Please don’t hear this as complaining, because I am so excited about the new house!  I’ve been holding my breath a bit- waiting to see how it’s all going to shake down, but so far, so good.  I came to the conclusion today that I’ve been expecting something to go wrong in the whole process, but that’s been lack of faith that the Lord has it under control.  Once again, the control freak in me rears her ugly head!
On New Year’s Day, Seffy turned 8 months old.  Can’t we just stop time for a while?  I can’t believe he’s four months shy of the big birthday.  He’s doing so great and I appreciate those who keep asking about him and praying for him.  He’s trying to get up on all fours and can do it for a split second before he plops back down.  It’s hard to get that big ol’ tummy off the ground!  In December, he got some special orthopedic pants that he wears the majority of his wake time.  Most Down Syndrome kids have hypotonia, or low muscle tone, so the tendency is for them to tire quickly, develop more slowly and thus, crawl/walk later.  On top of that, they are EXTREMELY flexible…Seffy is no different!  The shorts help hold his legs in so they don’t get used to turning out when he’s laying down, trying to crawl, etc. (think spandex shorts with some wiggle room that are sewn together at the inseam down to the knee).  They don’t bother him at all and I can tell his hips/legs are turning in a bit more and strengthening as they should be.  Seth’s still such a good eater!  He loves anything we feed him and can even out-eat his three year old sister!
So do you want to know the sweetest thing he’s learned?  Occasionally, when Ella cries (for whatever reason) and Seth is close by, he looks at her and starts to frown.  Then he looks at one of us and sticks out the bottom lip, then back at her, and again at us, back at her, back to us…..all the while working up to a big cry.  It is the saddest, sweetest little cry for his sister!  We just all have to hug- Ella, Seth, us- pat them both and tell them everyone is okay.  And, once she’s done crying, he turns it off too.  How precious!  It’s so cute, that Joel and I actually want him to do it whenever she cries!  If we could get it on video, I know it would win the prize on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Seth is very empathetic

So, 12 days until closing on both houses.  Please pray with us that all details are worked out and ready to go for closing on Jan 16th and that the move goes smoothly.  Praise God for this chapter of our life we’re opening and praise Him for this wonderful home we’re leaving.  Praise God that He is in control.
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