Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Me and my Grammy


I have the BEST Grammy in the whole world!  She came and visited me today and we snuggled, giggled and played!  I am sure you can tell from this picture that we had SO much fun!  I hope she comes back and visits real soon.

I LOVE YOU!!!!!

PS:  I ate my sweet potatoes again today and ate even more than yesterday!  Mommy was squealing with joy, so I guess I did something good!!!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy 8th Month Birthday Ahava!!!!

Today was a very special day for Ahava!  She turned 8 months!  We got her ears pierced and she ate sweet potatoes for the first time and LOVED them so much she ate the whole serving I made.  I was so proud of her when we got her ears pierced because she barely even fussed afterwards at all.  It has always been a dream of mine to have my daughters ears pierced!  I was thinking she may not be herself the rest of the day, but she was all smiles and giggles!  I am so very proud of my sweet little squirrel.  Thank you Father for this miracle and for giving us Joy!                          "Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing.  For to miss the joy is to miss all."  Robert Luios Stevenson

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ahava Update and Photos



Ahava is making HUGE progress!  We are so thrilled and impressed with how the Lord is providing and growing His "beloved." 

She is about 4 months adjusted (nearly 8 months!!!) and now 11 lbs 9.6 oz!!!  She is sleeping in her own room!!!! She is eating baby food!!!!!  (bananas and rice cereal!!!).  She rolled over (and not by accident) from her belly to her back at her last Therapy appointment!  The therapists (she has her Physical and Occupational Therapists who combine their sessions) were so very happy with her progress and said there was such a HUGE difference from the week before!  She is bringing her arms in together and even touching, hitting or grabbing at things!!!! God is so Faithful as He leads us in this season and shows me how to help her grow and learn even at home as we practice using different muscles.  Her speech therapist said she is verbally beyond her age!!! We will have no worries about her cognitive understanding and ability to communicate, in fact she is learning how to be VERY verbal and even loud sometimes!!!  (I love it!).  She has been off her oxygen for over 16 DAYS!  We saw the Pulmonologist for the first time since and he was SOOOOOOO impressed!!!!!

Here are a few things she LOVES:


Mirrors: we try to promote tummy time with her mirror and it has helped some, although she is still not fond of it so we have to find ways to be creative while doing tummy time.  A great way I have learned is doing it in the bath tub with her and putting toys around the rim while I lay her on my chest, it is also a good Kangaroo time as well!.

Gracey:  She has discovered her dog and it is sooooo cute to watch them interact and not just survive with each other around.  The other day she watched Gracey walk over to her and smiled a HUGE smile!  She looks at her all the time and of course Gracey sneaks some wet kisses into the picture!!!

Bath time: Bath time!!!  Bath time!!! BATH TIME!!!! This girl is half fish!  For real, she could actually live in the bath tub if we let her.  We have the cutest little tub that we used at first (and will TOTALLY come in handy in the future),  but we switched to taking turns getting in the bath with her (Bryan wears his bathing suit of course), and playing with her water squirt toys.  She hears the water and starts to get so excited and squirms and shakes her legs and hands.  After that I give her a massage and wrap her up and cuddle until she goes to bed.  It has been a sweet routine.

Praise Baby:  A lot of people may have strong feelings about this, but I have come to terms with trying to get Ahava and ME sanely through the day and sometimes that involved her watching Praise Baby (a Christian version of Baby Einstein.)

Faces:  She is BEYOND excited about faces!  She will reach towards your face and even play with you.  It is so cute.  She also loves her own face!  I had a very hard time letting her stick her hands in her mouth, especially because it sometimes causes her to gag and vomit, but the Therapist told us we have to let her do this for her development and so I have relaxed and let her explore (and yes even gag and throw up).  But it has taught her and helped her gag reflex!

Her Auntie Vicki!  We travel a lot to Forth Worth to see her specialist doctors (she has 3 right now that see her often) and we have always been received with open arms by Bryan's Aunt and Uncle.  They have surrounded us with the Love of the Lord in so many amazing ways this summer (by letting us stay with them and even Gracey) and have continued to open their hearts to us as we travel back and forth.  She loves her Auntie Vicki so much and has such a special relationship with her.

She also loves car rides, people (we don't go a lot of places because of our seclusion, so when we are around people, she is fascinated!), music and worship, and being in your arms...or yeah can't forget...her PACIFIER.

Eating is still somewhat of a challenge, but things are actually improving!  We will go see the Gastrointestional doctor in 2 weeks and trust that he will be able to help Ahava's reflux get under control and adjust her calories or her fortifier so that she will be able to digest it better.  Her main doctor increased her reflux medicine for the time being and it has been a night and day difference!  She is eating more and even keeping down more food!  So we are pleased with the progress she is making.  I know that she is healthy and she is growing and I have to keep in mind that THIS is the Truth even when we have bad days or I begin to fear.  I have had some amazing support lately getting through this challenge and have been releasing this issue to the Lord every day.

(As you may have noticed, we have been calling her Ahava lately instead of Micah.  Ahava was given to her by a VERY dear friend during our pregnancy.  The name is Hebrew and means "Beloved" or "my Love."  As we have entered into this new season of our journey, it just feels more fitting to call her this, although we do still call her Micah sometimes as well. So if you have been calling her Micah, you are welcome to continue to do so, or you may start calling her Ahava!)

Living in Today

We can't rely on future circumstance to change us or make us content. We wait for the hypothetical in hopes that it will somehow alter who we are and the resentment, fear or anger we have will absolve if only "this happens" or "that happens." In fact we use circumstance as an excuse more often than anything else. An excuse for behavior that does not line up with the Lord. And although circumstance DOES affect our emotions and actions, we must humble our hearts and ask the Lord for help not being a slave to circumstance any longer, that we would be anchored deeply in His Love so much so, that no matter what came our way, we could clearly make a decision to act and think within His Truth. We wouldn't have to wait for what we want to happen to be the person God is calling us to be. Can desires blind the Truth? Even good ones? I believe we can waste our whole lives being a slave to circumstance. And the master himself of circumstance is relentless in its toil. He does not choose favorites or yield understanding. In many ways we can view this, whether circumstance can define us (which is: what happens that we cannot control does not define us. Read previous post), or the fact that we wait for it to bring us hope or what we think we need in order to make us happy. But the Truth is, we cannot exalt circumstance. It cannot take precedence over our desire to seek and live for the Lord. And when we do this and do this for real, we somehow lower our desires or even how we think life should go and the Lord's will and His plan is more important. And this could very well offer more satisfaction!!! Circumstance and what we think we need should not offer more hope then following Jesus in this world. The world and ...if I only had that job, or...if I only lived in this better house, or....if I had that car....does not offer true satisfaction. No, we cannot wait for circumstance to give us hope for it is a fickle thing which loves no man, but we must hope in the Truth of what is eternal and what has the power to change lives!

So how can we do this when our current situations are hard? We seek out ways to live beyond ourselves. One neat way that I learned while I was going through Chemo, was looking for God's beauty in the everyday. And everyday He would be eager and willing to show me something beautiful that HE was doing and that more often than not, we wouldn't have time to see if we didn't make an effort to do so. Make time to observe and ask the Lord what He is doing in the now and stop waiting for what you think you want to happen to make life better or to give life your all. Now is the time!!! God says "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:3 When you live through difficulty you are forced to live in the now and the day by day. I want to carry that into my life and seek the Lord in each day as its own. He is so eager to hear your voice asking to know Him and see Him in this world. I pray this next season can be just that for me. I am His child and I want to seek my Father, without worry or fear and without wanting or thinking things need to be a certain way in order for me to be happy.

And He will meet me there!!!!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Know

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor. 13:12

When you go through traumatic situations, you almost have to shut down the world and focus on what is happening in order to survive. And when that situation goes on for many days and many months, you find ways to cope with this and it becomes your "normal." But as I am entering into a new season, and stretching cautiously beyond the trauma, I am realizing I am a little stuck in this mentality. It is hard to reach past the focus I had to have to survive. It almost feels awkward or even scary to step out of it and actually get back into the world, and more than that, start finding "me" again in this. Not only must I find me in this after the trauma, but also the definition of who I am as a completely different person...as a Mom. And me being a Mom has been a very dramatic change. I have waited so long for this beautiful promise to come about that at times when it has been hard, I felt so guilty for being unthankful and frustrated. Trauma also followed us home in different ways. Ahava has major eating difficulties which broke my heart and turned my fear even into anger. People who are mourning, suffering and going through intense situations and living in it day by day by day have to reach within themselves and even be selfish. It is a normal and understandable coping mechanism. But eventually as we heal and seek the Lord, He gently guides our hands out of the caves and shows us who we are once again. This is where I am right now. I am pleading my God to remind me who I am and to strengthen my heart and mind. I need Him to tell me who I am because I do not want to listen to the enemy. The enemy is always right there to help tell you who you are. He is a deceiver and a liar and sometimes it is easy to believe. But when we study and read and ask for Truth to reign in our hearts we can begin to listen and live that instead. But for me it has been a battle in itself. I have to remember that life is super hard right now. Many people do not understand the intensity and the amount of time that it takes to raise a preemie. Although I would never in a million years ask for anything else, it has shocked me beyond belief!!! And I have failed in my fear in ways that I never thought I could. I never expected Ahava to have such bad eating problems that take MUCH effort and a lot of patients. I cannot sit while I feed her, so every 3 hrs I am walking aimlessly around our tiny tiny house, boopin' her and praying she eats and keeps down what she eats. It takes a while and she battles that sometimes, and then after she is in jeopardy of throwing it all up (thanks to her feeding tube messing with her flap that causes reflux and heightened gag reflex). So you take me pumping, trying to catch Ahava as she wakes up from a nap (which this child just doesn't nap!!!! She only sleeps for 45 min 2x a day maybe!!! But if I catch her when she is still a little sleepy, she will eat better in the quietness....you learn these techniques!!!!!) then I battle the feeding part, burp her a lot (trying to stay calm the whole time, but truly worried it's all going to make a reappearance) and then hold her a little bit (all while walking around!!!!!!!!!!!), and then I must take my faith to action and risk putting her in her slanted rocker (good incline for reflux). So by that time it is time to do it all over again...and that's if she did not throw up and needed to be changed or sponge bathed. It was so hard. And when she refused to eat all together, I'd get so afraid. It again goes back to the NICU and how they really really get the kids as plump as possible. So basically they over feed them with good intention. They said if they don't eat, they don't grow, the brain won't and all that that I previously posted on before. So the anxiety was present and needs to be battled as well. I just needed the reminder in God's word that we only see a little and not the all. He was meaning spiritual truths and beauty, but I also could see it true for me right now in that I must remember that everyday is just what a person may see through a magnifying glass....but there is a bigger picture. I cannot be so inwardly focused anymore like I was and HAD to be to survive this past summer. I must remember that God is bigger and He is working all around me and things won't always be like this. I need a different perspective. I need the Lord to remind me. God keep guiding my spirit out of it's centeredness. I am ready to heal and ready to surrender that You have a great plan even when I don't see it. I am ready to believe and enjoy the moments now without fear...because there WILL BE a year from now! And You will be glorified in it all!

In other news: Ahava has been off oxygen since the 31st and has had no issues with it at all.  It is a different world without those machines around.  I told someone the other day that it feels like I have one baby now instead of two...although I would do it all over again...but I tell you the truth...that oxygen machine had it out to try and kill me!!!  I don't know how many close calls I had with that thing.  We are rejoicing in every moment we have with Ahava.  She is becoming so aware and alert.  We head back to Ft. Worth this week to see her lung doctor and are so excited to show him we are off the O2's!!!!!!!!!!!  Pray for safe travel and for Ahava to EAT WELL in Jesus Name! Also please be praying for Ahava's cousin Jace, who is going through the same journey she did and is in the NICU growing and stregthening in the Lord.  Pray for his Mom and Dad and his brother.  What an amazing thing it is to see the Lord do such a miracle in our family 2 times! 

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Look Who's OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahava has made it!!!!!!!!!  She has been off of her oxygen for 72 hours straight!!!  This is a HUGE deal and we are so very excited!!!!!!  We took this photo this morning at the exact 72 hours mark when we checked her SAT's and they were perfect!!!!  Thank you Jesus for this wonderful miracle.  Please continue to pray for her lungs as they grow and repair during these next couple of years of her life.