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We celebrate Jesus

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Today is Easter. We celebrate because Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life we were supposed to live and died on a cross in our place to satisfy God’s holy wrath for the sin we committed. God loved us so much that He offered up His own son to die for us. The very best news is that Jesus wasn’t like the rest. He rose from the grave, leaving behind an empty tomb and claiming victory over sin and death once and for all. Now, if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we can be saved from the punishment we deserve. That’s terrific news. Thank you Jesus.

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Hurricane Harvey is no joke!

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A lot of folks are asking, so I figured I’d cast a wider net to inform all on what’s going on:

We had about six inches of water in our house on Sunday evening. Here’s a two minute time lapse over two hours of the event.

Since then everything has been a whirlwind. Our Wednesday was extra productive as 10 guys from my church helped me take out sheet rock and wood floors downstairs. Now we are documenting all the things that are damaged with photos and must match up all the photos with serial #s etc for insurance purposes. Thankfully we had flood insurance. It seems as if about 50% of our friends who flooded had it. I guess when you only flood when there’s a “once in a 1000 years” flood, you probably can be forgiven for not having it. Really going to be tough and take a LONG time for everyone to get back to normal, especially those that are going to be dealing with costs of re-building out of pocket. We are understanding these verses in a new way:

Phillipians 4:11-13

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Here’s a picture of all the stuff we took out and piled up outside my home (basically the entire downstairs in one pile) and a picture of a military Humvee that rolled through our neighborhood. I don’t have pictures, but we’ve had Blackhawk helicopters and Osprey aircraft all over the place.

Humvee in our neighborhood after Harvey

A pile of sheet rock and wood floors from downstairs

 

There’s been no lack of response from the local, state, and federal authorities, not to mention the unbelievable response of fellow citizens in the greater Houston area to help their neighbors. Texans should be very proud.

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Video: Seth Turns Five Years Old!

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Happy birthday to our Seth!!  Time does indeed fly by, as we can hardly believe that we just celebrated his fifth birthday. What a journey these years with him have been.  I say it each time- we wouldn’t trade what we’ve learned these last five years for all the world.

Seth is a treasure I wish the whole world could know.

It’s funny how Seth can be both our easiest and our most difficult child all at once.  Let’s start with easy:  he is the most content child I’ve ever known.  His favorites are easy:  Jesse and Woody (Toy Story) dolls, monkeys, bubbles, outside, Sports Illustrated football, basketball and baseball encyclopedias, Finding Nemo, Mary Poppins (mainly for Burt), watching replays of A&M football games, playing tackle, dancing, macaroni and cheese, pancakes, chocolate and DADDY.  Everything else I think he could give or take, but those are clearly his favorites and truly a win-win every time.  What makes him the most difficult?  Seth is by far the most stubborn of all our kids.  He will refuse to do even the simplest or most necessary of tasks (for example, go to the bathroom and wash your hands) just because he’s made up his mind that he doesn’t want to.  Forget bribery, forget pulling out the list of favorites.  If he’s decided no, we figured out finally that we’d better decide to put on our patient hats.  Seems we don’t have enough of those around here some days.  😉

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Merry Christmas 2012

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We’ve been in a long battle of sickness off and on here at the fun house. We can’t seem to shake whatever is going around at school. As I write, Seth and Emily are both recovering from the flu while Ella, Kyle and I are hoping our number isn’t next. We are determined, however, to celebrate Christmas with a bang tomorrow morning. Here at the fun house, we will be celebrating Jesus and His arrival on earth as the God-man who would be the Savior.

We are so grateful for another Christmas season.

Jesus lived the perfect life that was required of us in order to satisfy an infinitely holy God. He died the death that we deserved because of our deliberate sin and rebellion. And, He clothes those who would believe with His perfect righteousness so that when God looks at us, He doesn’t see a rebel who deserves punishment but rather His son Jesus who has become our perfect sacrifice.

We love the festivities of this season, but we celebrate Jesus with great zeal and hope, because without Him our “holiday” would be pretty hollow. Our hope is certain, first of all, because we believe God’s promises are true in scripture, but also because He has proven Himself faithful in miraculous ways in our family.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!

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Potty Training Success!

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After unsuccessfully cajoling Emily to write about Seth’s potty training success here at the Fun House, I decided to give my shorter, less compelling recount of that experience.

History

Many of you may remember a post back in July of last year discussing our potty training attempt with Seth. Seth wasn’t ready then and he made that quite evident through his vehement opposition to even the thought of sitting on a potty upon request. (This stubborn defiance, we believe, is about 50% a uniquely Down syndrome characteristic and about 50% Seth just reflecting the personality of his wonderful parents!) Additionally, we weren’t sure he was putting together the bodily output and the feeling that came right before it. Finally, our frustration and expectation levels were way out of sync with where they should have been. But, this is not unusual with Emily and me both being “bottom line” achiever personalities. We aren’t the type of people who typically just “enjoy the process” or “ease our way into things”. We like formulaic (A + B = C) answers and will carefully follow the process to ensure we get to the result on time and under budget, so to speak. I confess that I naturally fall into that camp even more than Emily. Continue Reading…

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Video: Spring break – making connections

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The Fun House had a great time during Spring break visiting people we love. We started with my big brother Marty and his wonderful family. Aunty Mandy outdid herself with gourmet dinner and breakfast the next morning! She is a wonderful cook and terrific mother to their two sons, Taylor and Tate. We got to celebrate Tate’s birthday a few days early, and I enjoyed playing basketball with Taylor. We played several games outside with Marty, and then Taylor beat me in basketball on the Wii.

Marty taking good care of Seth

After our visit there we enjoyed some quality time with Great Granny who just had her 92nd birthday. She was so excited to see the kids. The kids really enjoyed our lunch and the photo shoot that followed. We are thankful for Granny and my Aunt Cuba.

Granny and Ella have a special connection

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Expectations

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Emily and I have been married for 10 years as of June 30 this year, and I have learned a lot in that period of time.  Being married and having children has exposed the sin in my life of having expectations that don’t come from a place of full surrender to God’s plan.  Let me share a story that highlights this point in a very big way.  In November of 2005, Emily and I were blessed to have our first daughter, Ella.  In our minds, everything about Ella met our expectations.  She was an objectively beautiful baby girl.  She met milestones ahead of her peer group.  She was walking in just over 10 months.  She was very verbal.  She had a fun personality.  She was what we thought a baby girl should be.  She was our Ella.

Ella was certainly a blessing

So, we thought we should go for a second child.  After all, WE could put out high quality offspring.  Well, this is where our expectations began to be checked and pride began to be broken.  God was going to put our expectations to death and replace them with something so much better.  It took longer for Emily to get pregnant with Seth.  After a blood-test and subsequent ultrasounds, we found that our little Seth had about a 1 in 8 chance of having Down syndrome.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21 in this case, it is a genetic condition in which a person has 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46.  Trisomy 21 occurs when there is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome.  Most of the time Down syndrome is not inherited, but is rather a “random event”.

So, to continue with the story, we chose not to have additional testing, which would allow us to have 99% certainty regarding our son’s genetic condition because there was a small chance of terminating the pregnancy by doing this test.  As you can imagine, there was plenty of stress and uncertainty over the next four months after the ultrasound and plenty of faith building opportunities.  Finally, on May 1st, Seth was born, and he did indeed have Down syndrome.  We weren’t prepared totally for this reality.  We had talked to plenty of folks who had “false positives” during their pregnancies.  This is where I had to deal with my own lack of faith.  I had built up a set of expectations in my mind that weren’t unusual for dad with his first son, but they weren’t fully rooted in God’s purposes.  You see God’s ultimate purpose is to bring Himself glory.  If His ultimate purpose was anything else, He wouldn’t be God.  Here’s where I hadn’t truly conformed my expectations to God’s as it related to Seth.  I had prayed that God would use Seth’s life for His glory, but in the back of my head I had an expectation that Seth would succeed in sports, be a persuasive leader of people, or make it big in the business world.  Honestly, I felt like I deserved to have the ideal.

The reality is that Seth might excel in sports, but in a different context.  Seth still might be a persuasive leader of people but in a unique and different way and certainly not the way I was thinking.  The point is that Seth will have physical and cognitive challenges that my expected child did not.  We have seen God’s purpose in giving us Seth.  God has used him powerfully as a testimony of His grace and mercy.  And, He has done it through Seth in a glorious way that would have never happened through any other child.  You see God’s plan and expectations for Seth were SO much better and SO much more God glorifying than our expectations for a boy that never existed.  I am so thankful for Seth and so thankful that God is teaching me to trust in His plan.

I wouldn't trade Kyle or Seth for any other.

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Seth passes another hearing test with flying colors

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If you want to know why that’s a big deal, read the miracle ear story.

Seth is doing great!

 

 

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The Glory of God in the Gift of Disability – Desiring God

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In last week’s sermon on John 9:1-23, John Piper makes this bold statement:

via www.desiringgod.org

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Kyle says Happy Resurrection Day

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Romans 10:9
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Kyle is ready for church

Joel

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