Saturday, April 24, 2010

Extreme Home Makeover Update!

It is amazing to watch ABC's Extreme Home Makeover show. I always cry before the end of the show...I am so impacted by each family's story. I am overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of "neighbors" and the faithfulness of God (whether others recognize it for that or not. I do!).

Now, Extreme Home Makeover, and the many other home improvement shows, not only get the job done in five days or less, with modern technology, it can happen anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half, on my tv. If, and I say if, I have time to watch tv, I can see numerous shows in a single day! As inspiring as they are, it leaves me with a few unrealistic expectations. ("What do you mean you can't finish the siding in an hour?")

The truth be takes a long time to build a house. I think it was Hillary Clinton that said, years ago, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, mark my words, "It takes a village to raise a house!
Another awesome team from Ephrata United Zion Church
...along with Bill, Berkeley and my fam!
I appreciate you all SO much.

That being said, I now say a million THANKS to the "village people" that came two weeks ago to help. This project depends on the generosity of others, financial gifts and precious time and talent. We are so grateful!!!

Ty Pennington has nothing on this guy! Kyle was amazing. At seven years old, he would run to the "work site" every morning. He worked on a team that caulked all the interior seams, helping to keep the house well insulated.

A few "camera shy" crew members!

This team literally went to "new heights", working to complete this project. The weather was so beautiful, sun during the day, much needed rain at night. We still need to finish up the rest of the siding. Then, we will be able to finish the inside.
Thank you for all of your prayers on this project. We appreciate them! Keep them coming! Here are a few specific prayer points...
-thanks and praise for all of the friends that we have met
-safety for everyone working on this project
-blessings on all of the volunteers that have given of their time and talents
-continued blessings on Bill, for overseeing this project, and wisdom as he completes it
-finances to finish up soon, and well
-an electrician to complete the job
It has been an amazing process. Some discoveries from "The Process"...
-I find that I am more adventurous in trying new things out side of my skill set.
-I have learned that God's timing is not my timing, I trust Him.
-I am more relaxed in my mantra, "Everything has a place and everything in it's place." (Although, I LONG for the day that I can put everything back where it belongs!!!!!)
-Everything is going to be everything there is a season.
-God is so faithful!
-Life is good...God is GREAT!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lots of Love. Locks of Love.

My daughter is beautiful. I'm talking inside AND out.

Things have been a bit crazy around here the past few, home renovations, continued international adoption process, court cases, the passing of my grandpa and then the very recent passing of Todd's dad.

There has been no time for blogging, but there is ALWAYS time for my sweet girl! This week we took an early break from "home reno" stuff to go to the least that is what we told Dad!

We planned for a later night showing of "The Diary of a Whimpy Kid", so that we could stop by the mall for a hair cut and ear piercing! We were so thrilled to be pulling off this huge surprise.

Once at the hair salon, we realized that Ashley may have enough hair being cut off to donate to Locks of Love, a non-profit group that makes wigs for children that have lost their hair due to illness. (FYI...80% of hair donations are donated by children who want to help other children.) Ashley had 10 inches cut off!

As I sat there, watching her interact with Jamie, the stylist, I was overwhelmed with such joy. I could see that she and Ashley were talking away. When it was all said and done, Jamie told me what an amazing daughter I have. I have to agree.

Our prayers over the last few months have included two people very close to our hearts. Jane, who has battled breast cancer.

Spencer Daniel who has battled Ewing's Sarcoma. Both are doing great. Both have lost their hair. This was just one way that Ashley could do something in honor of both of them.

So, sweet Ashley got her ears pierced and her locks cut off. Tomorrow I will be sending 10 inches of her ultra thick hair to Locks of Love! Tomorrow she will be going back to school and showing all of her friends her "new look!"

A Mom's Love for her Son

It's that time of year, where the rest of the world is challenged to try to understand ours.

April is Autism Awareness Month!!!

I am not looking for sympathy or pity. I do, however, want to advocate for awareness, compassion and action.

Autism is a very real situation for many more families than we, as a society, can really imagine. The numbers are only going up each year. At this point in history, there is no known prevention or cure for autism.

A few facts...
-Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism.
-1 in 110 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
-1 in 67 boys are diagnosed with autism.
-500,000 (yes 500,000) children with autism will enter into adulthood in the next decade.

No one in their right mind would choose to enter into the "world of autism", but those of us who have arrived at this place have two choices...
1. to allow autism to dictate how we live
2. to dictate to autism how we will live

We have chosen the latter.

A few celebrities, who have arrived at this same place, have used their status as a podium to bring awareness and hope to others. Holly Robinson Peete has a great article that is a must read for those wanting to become more "aware".

Jenny McCarthy

Holly Robinson Peete

Then there is me, with MY guy!

Autism doesn't just happen to an individual. It happens to a family.
Not only do we want what is best for Jack, we want what is best for our family, and other families that face the same challenges that we face. I want to see options, and supports, in place that will help individuals and families in our little area of the world. Options and supports that allow Jack, and others, to get all the help they need in order to be everything they were destined to be!
The past few months have found me doing things that I wish I did not have to do.
I did not want to be sitting in a courtroom fighting for the right for my child to have adequate services provided to him, in order to reach his full potential later in life. I'd rather be scoping out YWAM locations or colleges for him to go to next year.
I did not want to have to file papers that will allow me to be appointed guardian of Jack after his 18th birthday. I'd rather be helping to fill out YWAM DTS or college applications for him.
You know, I cannot even "park" on these issues, before I know it, I would be sliding down a slippery slope into self pity. I was there YEARS ago. I'm not going back.
So, putting on my "big girl pants"...
...we are pointed to the future, moving ahead, unsure of exactly what we might discover.
KNOWING that the Lord is with us the entire time.
KNOWING that He will never leave us of forsake us.
KNOWING that each day is a gift.
KNOWING that He uses all things to make us more like Him.
KNOWING that His love for my son far out weighs the love I have for my son.
KNOWING that His ways are higher than mine.
It is His ways that we have chosen to follow...This Amazing Journey!