Back to School

Last Spring I went to a women’s event with a very dear friend. While driving, she asked me how long it would take me to become an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor). Since I already had a master’s degree in school counseling, I told her maybe a year or two for the classes. I honestly wasn’t sure. She encouraged me to pray about going back to school and so I half-heartedly said I would look into it.

If I’m being honest, I had given up on any dreams I had of being a professional counselor after Gideon’s birth. As morbid as it sounds, I thought if I ever did go back to school, then it would need to be after he goes home to be with Jesus.

Nevertheless, I began looking into course work and I contacted my former university. As it turns out, they said I could finish the degree in less than a year. My husband and I sat down and talked through the pros and cons of journeying down this road. We sought prayer and counsel from friends, and in the fall of 2015, I went back to school.

It was a crazy time, as we were selling our house in October and trying to move. We’ve faced all kinds of ups and downs since then. After our house sold, the apartment we had been promised got flooded and we have since stayed with my brother-in-law while looking for a new place.

Nevertheless, in the midst of all that, God has been so faithful. In February, I got a random call from Garland ISD asking me to sub part-time for a school counseling position at an elementary school. They basically needed someone to come in and run the tornado relief counseling groups for the kids affected by that horrendous storm. This job was a blessing for two reasons. First, it would allow me to fulfill my hours needed for my practicum classes that would begin in March. And second, it meant that we could pay cash for my classes. I cannot stress this statement enough… God’s timing is incredible.

About 3 weeks ago, I passed my NCE (National Counselor Exam). Now I have to finish my practicum hours, which I’m set to do before baby Josiah arrives in July!  Then I will graduate in August.

There will still be intern hours to fulfill (3000 total), but I have 5 years to complete those. Call me crazy, but I feel zero stress about meeting those requirements. Every step of this journey, God has more than provided for us and I’m confident that He will continue to do so. It may take me all 5 years…but I’m okay with that.

To my friend who suggested I go back to school, thank you.

We Are Expecting

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Last November I came down with a cough that would not go away. After two weeks of consistent hacking, I decided to go to the doctor to get some meds. While the nurse was examining me, she asked, “Before we prescribe you anything, is it possible that you could be pregnant?” I replied, “Well, I’m happily married and we don’t use contraceptives, so there’s always a chance.”  After looking at my calendar I told her that I was one day late, but that isn’t unusual for me.

And with that, she sent me away to pee in a cup.

So on that Tuesday, November 17, 2015, I found out that I had a virus and that we are expecting. I was extremely excited yet surprised. Two years ago, my husband and I decided that we were not done having kids, so we have not been preventing pregnancy for quite some time. I think a small part of me thought that I might not be able to get pregnant again since so much time had passed.

I wanted to find some fun way to tell Kevin, but we had ReEngage that evening so I decided to wait for a day. Unfortunately, one day quickly turned into three days. Because we had something going on every evening, there was never a good time to tell him. By Friday morning I couldn’t wait any longer, and decided to tell him before he left for work.

I told him to sit down because I needed to call a home team moment. I should probably mention that “home team” is our code for “I’m about to tell you something that may be shocking to hear. Please don’t get defensive and remember that I love you and we are on the same team.”  Pregnancy is not a situation that I would typically call a home team moment for, but I wanted to make sure I had Kevin’s full attention.

As I pulled my pregnancy test strip from a bio-hazard plastic bag , Kevin’s face relaxed and he seemed relieved. “Oh, you’re just pregnant?!” he said. We laugh now because apparently the bio-hazard bag (which the doctor had given me to save my test strip) sent the wrong initial message.

So we are excited to announce that we are having a baby boy and he is due July 20th! (Probably a bit later since my kids are typically in no hurry to be born). While we are not sure on a middle name just yet, we have decided that his first name will be Josiah, which means God supports, God heals.

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If you are familiar with our story, then you probably have a few questions. So let me write a bit more and see if I can answer them. Since my husband and I both carry a recessive gene for what is called Peroxisomal Biogenesis Disorder, that means that this baby boy does have a 25% chance of being born with PBD, just like his big brother Gideon. But that also means that Josiah has a 75% chance of not being affected, like his big sister Laynie. In light of those odds, we decided not to do any prenatal testing to determine whether or not Josiah is affected. For us, that information would not change our decision to bring him into this world, so we opted out of any testing.

Since then some people have told us we are crazy. Some have lovingly told us we are wrong. Apparently there are many who can’t understand why we would “take such a risk.” The truth is, our perspective is just different and we don’t expect everyone to understand or share our perspective. We truly hope and pray that Josiah is born healthy and free of PBD; however, we believe that God’s grace is sufficient no matter the outcome.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.    2 Corinthians 12:9

Looking back over the past three years, we have met some of the most amazing people and have been blessed in ways that we never could have imagined, all because of Gideon’s PBD diagnosis. Kevin and I have seen God do impossible things through our little boy’s life, and we believe that our lives are better, not worse, because of our mighty warrior and his struggles.

Being a mother to a child with special needs has been extremely challenging yet extremely rewarding. And no matter what happens regarding Josiah’s health, God is faithful and will continue to carry my family through every high and every low.

So stay tuned… our family’s journey will be interesting to say the least.

 

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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Have you ever heard of an old hymn called Great is Thy Faithfulness? If your were raised Baptist you probably do…

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I never appreciated this hymn mostly because there was always someone who sang it off-key in the church pew behind me when I was a kid. Nevertheless, I’ve come to realize just how great His faithfulness truly is (and has been) in my life.

About a year ago, I told my husband that I felt like the Lord was calling us to sell our house and pay off our remaining debt. He laughed at me and somewhat flippantly said, “Yeah, I’ll pray about that.” So I didn’t push the issue (too much) after that.

By the time summer came around, God had softened Kevin’s heart to the idea of selling. But since we were busy with Joni & Friends family camp and the GFPD conference, we just didn’t have time.  However in August we started giving away and selling some of our belongings. In September we put our house on the market and within two days of back to back showings, we received 5 offers. Three of those offers were more than we could have hoped for.

In the process of selling, we found a non-traditional apartment that would only cost us $550/month, all bills paid. In essence, we hit the renters jackpot. (Unfortunately we won’t be able to move in until after the first of the year; so for now my brother-in-law is putting up with us.) I just love how God provides.

But that’s not even the coolest part of what God has been doing these past few months. After we sold our house, I came to appreciate even more the part of the hymn that says, “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.” Here’s why..

Around the same time I first felt the Lord calling us to sell, we were in the process of ordering Gideon’s wheelchair. I knew it was going to be a tight fit in my jeep compass, but my vehicle was paid off. We certainly couldn’t make payments on something bigger because we are a one income family. I remember sarcastically telling God, “I’m gonna need you to figure out our vehicle situation!” God must have shook his head and laughed. Looking back now, He saw that need long before we did and He went above and beyond our need when this gift was dropped  into our laps….

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That is a 2015 Toyota Sienna, BraunAbility  wheelchair accessible van. Who gave it to us you ask?? If you find out, please let us know!!  Apparently there is a family out there that chooses to anonymously bless others in extravagant ways. Someone pointed them towards my blog and the family’s liaison reached out to me to let me know that we had been chosen to be the recipients of this amazing free gift. Even after a month of driving the van, it still doesn’t seem real.

It would take a book to write down all the ways God has continually provided for my family.  He has been faithful, time and time again. We are beyond excited about this new chapter that is unfolding. We don’t know where we will be in the next year or so, but that’s the fun part. We have learned throughout our marriage that we don’t have to worry about the details. We are committed to praying about our needs and letting God work out the details. Afterall, all we have needed His hand hath provided.

Great is Thy Faithfulness!!

Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

The Play Ball Kid

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Thanks to CC Carpet, my daughter Laynie got a neat opportunity to be the Play Ball Kid at the Texas Rangers Game in Arlington. Basically she got to go down to the field (in front of 47,000+ people) and say “Play ball!”

Since the game started at 7 pm, we decided to leave Gideon with Kevin’s parents and my mom. His bed time is 7:30 pm and my dad was MORE THAN happy to ensure that little man’s ticket didn’t go to waste.  😉

So once we got there, we planned on getting Laynie a blue Rangers t-shirt for her big moment. Of course, she picked a pink Rangers dress instead. If you know my daughter, this is no surprise. Judge if you must, but I bought it.

I choose my battles wisely.

When the time came, only one parent could go onto the field with the play ball kid, so I suggested Kevin go with Laynie. Unfortunately, I forgot about Captain- the mascot. Laynie is terrified of mascots. She hates the Easter Bunny, Chuck E Cheese, & even Santa Clause.

Needless to say, she looked little fearful as she stood next to Captain yelling, play ball!

Check it out.

But what’s funny about this experience is what happened before Kevin and Laynie went onto the field.

Kevin & Laynie were sitting in the press conference room with some other kids (and their parents) who also took part in the opening ceremonies.

The Rangers personnel were going over procedures for each kid, and when they came to Laynie they asked, “Do you know what you are going to say?”

Laynie softly replied, “Play ball.”

Concerned about Laynie’s volume, the woman speaking told Laynie she would have to yell really loud.

She asked Laynie, “Do you have a brother?”

Laynie replied “Yes.”

The woman continued, “Do you ever have to yell at your brother to stop touching your toys and give back your things?”

(You see where this is going??)

Without missing a beat, Laynie said directly, “No, my brother is blind and deaf, so I do not yell at him.”

Kevin said the woman was so caught off guard, that she looked to him for clarity. Kevin (grinning ear to ear) nodded & told her that Laynie’s brother was in fact blind and deaf; and that he would not hear her even if she yelled at him. After a period of awkward silence, the woman said, “Well….uh…just make sure you say it really loud.”

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that moment!!

When they returned, Kevin told my dad and I the whole story. We cried because we were laughing so hard!!

By the 7th inning stretch, Laynie was wiped out, so we decided to beat the traffic and head home. It was a great night for all us. Laynie felt so important and so special.

We are extremely grateful to CC Carpet for giving us such an amazing opportunity to spend time with our little girl in a setting that was all about her!!

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