Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Post-op Report

Happy days are here again!  I went for my one week post-op visit and everything went wonderfully! My surgery site is healing very nicely with only a tiny little spot of weakness.  This spot has bled just a tiny bit since the surgery, and Dr. Walsh just feels like that’s because all of the tension is centered there.  Not a big deal, though.  I’m only 5-10% “healed” at the site, though, so although simple place-to-place walking is fine, I can’t do any kind of exercise or rigorous activity until it’s more stable.  I’m just glad she told me it’s ok to move around good now!  And the happiest news is that the path report came back completely clear, so the cancer is GONE!  Praise Jesus!  We’re all so relieved and thankful to all of our friends and family for all of the meals, prayers and babysitting that’s been necessary over the past week.  This all goes to show that TRIBES are NECESSARY, and we sure belong to a great one.  We leave this Saturday for Michigan for our Life Action vacation.  I’m so glad I’ll get to go with no big worries! I used to say with great confidence...YAY for SUMMER!


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Oh Mr. Sun...

My kids' ages are spread out all over the place.  19 down to a developmental 2-year-old and a couple others thrown in there for good measure and a little extra well-rounded chaos.  We got it, though.  That's how we like it.  My big boy is old enough to remember Barney, that big, annoying, talks-like-he's-got-a-cold purple dinosaur, which means I certainly remember Barney.  So there's two songs that Barney-watchers will remember: the 'I Love You' theme song, and 'Oh, Mr. Sun'.  I mean, surely you remember those.  Like, when you just want to annoy the stink outta somebody, you'd just start singing one of them.  Or maybe that's just me.

So, 'Oh, Mr. Sun' comes to mind as of late.  And right now you'd probably assume its because you think I missed the ark that sailed from Alabama a few days ago before all of the rain poured down and flooded everything (including my chicken poor hens aren't happy in all of that mud), but its not.

Its because Mr. Sun gave me cancer.

I love the sun.  I used to hate it.  I didn't like to be hot, or sweaty, or breathe air that was so thick with heat and water you could cut it with a butter knife.  But I've totally flipped, and now I can't stand the cold. I love the spring when it starts to get warm, and I love our neighborhood pool in the summer.  And the beach....ooooh my goodness.  I. LOVE. THE. BEACH.  I got to visit Destin for the first time early this month.  Craig had a work conference there and I was able to go along for the ride, and I've never seen a lovelier place.  I sat on that beach all by myself for two days and it felt so good.

But the sun apparently really isn't your friend.  I realize now that all of these medical experts know what they're talking about, and its not really just a threat, because I found out a couple of weeks ago that you really can get skin cancer, and it doesn't always start out with a little warning.  Sometimes it just jumps right into melanoma before you get a chance to get your act together.

I started seeing a dermatologist several years ago, just because I did all the things, especially when I was younger.  Sunburns, tanning beds, blisters...I really did.  But that's just what everybody kinda did.  Sunburns hurt, but when they faded, you had a little bit of a "glow" (that's what we call it because it sounds prettier and healthier than a "tan").  And I could fall asleep in a tanning bed.  That little fan at the end and that good heat...

But it caught up with me last year when I had my first pre-melanoma cut off of my arm.  It wasn't so bad.  It was a teenty, tiny little spot that I wouldn't have thought anything about, but my doctor removed it and it was close to being full-blown melanoma.  When the path report came back, we realized more had to be cut out, so I went and had that done.  After a day in a sling and caring for a few stitches I was fine and dandy.  This was in March, so I carried on with summer.  LOVED it.  LOVE summer.

I had to start seeing my dermatologist every six months, though, for a full skin check.  First one was fine, but when I went for my next one, which was a couple of weeks ago, she took a mole that had grown since my last visit.  I knew it was there, and I would look at it myself from time to time, but I never thought it looked "bad".  It didn't carry a lot of the typical ugly-mole signs you look for when trying to diagnose melanoma, but Dr. Lucas could see that it had grown and she didn't hesitate when she said we needed to take that one off and have it biopsied.  I wasn't even nervous when she said that.  So she shaved the surface of the mole, send it to the lab, and called me last Tuesday to tell me it came back positive for melanoma.

At that point, I was scared.  I knew melanoma wasn't good.  I knew that was cancer, and that type of cancer doesn't play.  The good news was that it was only a stage 0-1, and that with it being that early, my chances of complete recovery were very good.  From what we could tell, it had not spread past the first layer of skin, so treatment beyond surgery wasn't going to be needed at this point.

I was relieved at that.  We scheduled surgery for June 6th.  The surgeon that was going to work on me called the next day, and because we have a big family vacation coming up on the 9th, we re-scheduled the surgery for yesterday (May 30th) so I would have enough time to heal before we traveled, and because any time you can get rid of cancer earlier, particularly when it buts up right next to a bone, its just a good thing to do instead of letting it sit there.

She told me all the risks from the operation, and because of where it is on my leg (lower shin, right leg), it was just gonna be a hard place to heal and sew back together because there's just not a lot of skin there to work with.  There were a few options we talked about, but we decided just to try and sew it up traditionally.  She talked about possibly doing a skin graft, but that would just give me another wound.  The other option was to leave part of this wound open and let it heal from the inside out, but that would be a longer process, and with us traveling, it just seemed riskier.  No matter what we chose, though, the healing process was going to be somewhat painful because of the incision, location and swelling.

So I went in for surgery yesterday.  My family had me covered in prayer for all sorts of reasons.  For complete removal of the cancer, for recovery, for the name it, we all prayed for it.  I went in there with a confidence that Jesus stood right beside that doctor, and whatever happened was something that he'd take care of.  Start to finish, it took 30-40 minutes.  They took a big chunk out of my leg, popped that thing in a bottle, and sent it on its way to a lab somewhere to be analyzed.  I've got to be off of my feet with my leg propped up and iced for a week, then I'll go back and see the doctor and figure out where we go from there.  It definitely hurts, but our house is typically chaotic, and loud, and fast-paced.  And really, I'm usually the one leading the pack keeping everybody on schedule and busy.  I think this is the first time ever that I've just been completely down, but we have such a GREAT support system with our family and friends that have provided food and kid help,  We don't have a single need that hasn't been met, and I'm so grateful to all of our people!   Craig is able to work from home some, and that's such a blessing and I'm happy to not be here by myself.  Sitting in a bed or chair all day is bad, but if I had to do it all day with nobody to talk to, well, then my walls would probably be able to tell some stories!

I'm writing because I'm still enough to have the time to do it, and when something goes on in our lives, that's just how I deal with it.  Its an outlet, sort of, and I just typically like to talk about things, anyway.  And some people are private and don't like to tell a lot of stuff.  But, we've been through enough here in the Stewart house that I've learned that it's not a bad thing for people to know and pray for you!  And again, I am FINE and once this heals, I expect to make a complete recovery.  I'll have to go for more frequent check ups now, but the great thing is that although the chance of melanoma recurrence is greater, there's also a greater chance that it will be caught early and be treated before its able to spread.  I'm so thankful for that.

Y'all just take Mr. Sun seriously.  This stuff is real, and once you have it, especially, you've got to be so very careful.  And if you haven't, then take care of yourself before you do.

Love to all!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Oompa-Loompa and the Presidential Office

It's been a REALLY long time since I sat down and wrote anything. 

I'm totally not saying that I haven't had note-worthy events in the last lots-and-lots-of-days, I'm just saying that I haven't taken the time to put it all down.

So after lots-and-lots-of-days, I've found something that I want to say, and I seriously can't believe that the content will be what it is.

Let me start off by saying I am not a political person. 

In fact, I've never cared about politics.  I've never kept up with politics.  Politics bore me, and politics make me lose my mind.  I don't even know what 75% of the positions I vote for even mean or accomplish. 

But this presidential election has gripped me. 

I watch Fox News constantly.  Why? Because I'm a conservative Christian, and that's what we're supposed to watch.  Maybe you agree with that, or maybe you don't, but as a newbie in political talk, that's where I started.  I've watched CNN a time or two,  I'm also a very dramatic person (I like other people's drama, not my own) and sometimes they flail their arms and I like it when Tucker gets all worked up over stuff I might could get worked up over.  But...that's what I watch because me and the Fox people are friends now.

And for real, I was watching Fox News before Donald Trump ever made his official announcement that he was running for President.  I listened in on the Monday morning phone calls he would make to the studio, and quite frankly, I loved hearing him talk.  And for real, I was like, "he should seriously run for President".  I didn't know much about the Trumpster.  I just knew that he seemed like a man who could make things happen, and maybe he was just a big-talker, but still. 

Then came the for real announcement.  Donald Trump is running for President.  Gulp.  I mean, BIG gulp.  Oooooh boy.  Then came the facts.  He's an adulterer.  He's a scammer.  He only cares about money.  He's a hater.  He owns strip clubs.  And not only that...he's running for the POTUS.  And I said once that I wished he'd run for President.  So now I've gotta vote for this crazy idiot with REALLY bad hair that's about the most immoral person I've ever heard of. 

But by golly, he's gonna build a wall, y'all!

SCREEEEEEEEEECH....(hear it with me)

I watched a lot of the debates.  I heard a lot of the jibber jabber from all of the republican candidates.  I liked Ben Carson...a lot.  But I kinda started losing it for him.  He just didn't quite seem to have it all together.  Then I sorta got on the Rubio train, then the Christie bus, and John Kasich wasn't all that bad.  I was obviously all over the place.  But keep in mind, I'm a tiny tot in politics.  Don't forget that.  There's lots of ignorance involved here, so stay with me before you silently yell at me. 

Then come the interest in the Democrats.  People, you've got two.  Even now. That's it.  Hillary. Bernie.  Both of them have always seemed like two different bad dreams in politics.  They both have their "I can't even..." aspects to them.  And still...I just can't even.

But we're just down to one of those, and its Hillary Clinton.  HILLARY CLINTON. 


(Stay with me.  Even if you're mad at me.  Stay with me.)

So fast forward lots of days.  Again.  Last week, James Dobson makes a big announcement.  DONALD TRUMP HAS ACCEPTED CHRIST.  Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.  Its a miracle.  We may have a Christian President after all. 

SCREEEEEECH...hear it again?)

I like James Dobson.  He has always seemed like a smart, dependable, Godly man.  I've read Bringing Up Boys, and trust what that man says.  All of us conservative Christian people love James Dobson.  Did you know that he's gonna be serving in some capacity on Trump's faith advisory council?  He,  along with Ben Carson, Jack Graham, and some other people that we've all heard of are on this council and they're gonna be having some Christian talks with him.  I don't know what else they're gonna be doing, because I'm still a baby in politics and I'm not sure what all goes on here, remember?  But anyway, that sounds good to me. 

But James Dobson says that Trump was led to Christ, and he accepted Jesus as his savior. 

I hope he did.  I really and truly hope he did.  And I hope it wasn't for the popular Christian vote.  I hope that he truly recognized his sin, repented of his ways, and now longs to have a relationship with the same Jesus I have a relationship with.  Know why?  Because I can't vote for Hillary.  I've seen and read enough of her to know that she's just not where its at (that sounded very political, didn't it?).  I just don't believe she can be the President.  And there's a whole big list of reasons for that, too, but its for another post four years down the road. 

I think I've gotta vote for Mr. Trump. 

Not because maybe he's become a Christian, but because we're supposed to vote for the President, and we've got two choices.  In an election like this, we're not voting for the best Christian leader for the next four years, because we're not guaranteed a Christian candidate.  We've gotta vote for who we believe will lead our country in the right direction.  Do I believe its Trump that can do it?  Uuuuuhh...maybe?  I think so?  But I'm really not sure, because again, I'm new to political stuff.  And what's really on my mind right now is trying to figure out who is really gonna stop these evil, demon-spirited terrorists from blowing people up all over the world.  Who's gonna do that?  Trump says he will, and I think I'm gonna go with that for now. 

The truth is, I don't know.  I really don't. 

Just like I don't know for sure if Trump has become a child of God.  Only God knows his heart, just like only God knows mine.  Trump is no better, and in God's eyes, no worse than the rest of us.  I get that we "grade" sin.  We do...I do.  But God doesn't.  I do know that he can forgive, though, and if Donald Trump has asked for forgiveness recently, then God gave him grace that covers it all.  I just hope that the oompa-loompa-look-alike doesn't let me down if that's where I cast my vote.

So.  We've got an election coming up, and there's a couple of people on the ballot. 

What are we gonna do?


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Fight Like No Other

I know.

I'm such a quitter.  Its been foreverish since I wrote anything.  Why?  Because I have all these people to take care of.  And things.  And animals.  That's not a complaint, its just a reason.  I mean, I'm glad to have the reason, but there's just no time to sit and ponder, or write, or think, or look for baby chipmunks.  (If you're lost now, read the latest FB post.)  Life is just different.  Good, but different.

So if there's this much going on, something must be of utmost importance for me to be able to squeeze out a few to sit and pour out my heart.

And there is.  Something of great importance that I can't hold in anymore.

Last week, I watched a video that went viral on social media that's really changed my life.  It was a video about a young man that's fighting a horrible skin disease that has left his body horribly wounded and scarred.  He lives in constant pain every. single. day.  Its a disease that doesn't leave much room for optimism, as most kids diagnosed with it don't live to see 25.   If you watch the video, though, you'll find that this boy has an outlook on life that doesn't quite fit the profile of what he deals with.  He smiles so much, and the way he views his life is filled with words of so much wisdom and maturity for a boy of his age.  It leaves you walking away with a sense of inspiration and motivation, and it leaves you feeling like this young man is someone we should all look up to, regardless of our age or condition.

But as I listened to him talk, I began to wonder.  What does his eternity look like?  He's battled this horrible, painful disease throughout his entire life.  Where does he get his sense of hope?  I began scouring the internet to see what I could find about this boy.  He spoke of his family as being his main source of strength and comfort.  His mother, he says, is his nurse, his best friend, his helper...just, his mother.  He draws what he needs from her presence, and you can see that he loves her so much.  And she loves him.  Absolutely adores him.  He's obviously her reason to be able to get up and smile everyday.  In my opinion, someone should split the Nobel Peace Prize down the middle and let this boy and his mama share it. 

But, still.  I needed to find something to fulfill my desire to know if this boy is, well, SAVED.  Like, saved by the redeeming blood of Jesus.  I wasn't able to find anything.  I researched for a couple of days, and the more time I spent doing this, the more my mind started playing tricks on me.  Or was it?

Monday was the day I first watched the video.  By that night, I was in a struggle.  It was close to 11 and I was already in bed, but I clearly felt the Lord directing me to a path that I haven't traveled that often.  I've spoken to people in groups before, but there's only been very few times that I have shared Jesus with someone on a one-on-one type basis.  That's a hard thing to admit, but most of y'all know I'm sometimes painfully honest and open, even when its not exactly the right thing to say.

I got up and found some contact information for this boy's mama, and I poured out my heart through the world wide web.  I was able to share Jesus through my own experiences with heartache and hardship in written form.  That method wasn't so bad, because its easier to deal with potential rejection if its not quite so personal.  We've all experienced those difficult times, but particularly through our experience with the twins, I could identify with seeing your own flesh and blood suffer.  I typed out what I wanted to say, then with my hand on the screen, I prayed and asked the Lord to bless those words and make them effective. 

My hope was that my job was done, and it probably should've been.  The problem was that I continued to let the thoughts in my mind fester.  As the days of last week went on, I began to experience a fight like I never had before . . . ever.  My sweet friend, Boots, later told me, "Girl you're experiencing some serious spiritual warfare, and you've gotta step back and stop playing God". 

I was making up some horrible images in my head.  I was thinking of this kid and his sweet mother constantly.  It was literally consuming me and bringing me into a place I've never been.  I began to cry almost daily for this family.  I was in a horrible mood all the time with my own family. I knew I had done what God wanted me to do, but in my mind, it just wasn't enough.  In my mind, what God may have for this boy may not be enough.  I had already assumed his eternal future, and it wasn't what I thought it should be.  Regardless of what this kid already believes or doesn't, in my mind, it wasn't right.

Everything came to blows Saturday night.  I couldn't function anymore.  I'm telling you, it was literally evil vs. good.  The thoughts I had been having absolutely, 100% were not of God.  Not even close.  These thoughts of doubt came straight from the pit of Hell, and I couldn't overcome them anymore.  I broke down and was in a complete tailspin, and told Craig that I was at a point that I couldn't handle it anymore.

He called my daddy.  Most of y'all know that my daddy is a pastor.  My daddy walked in my door that night armed with a love for me and the Word of God.  He shared several verses of scripture with me and helped me to understand that no matter what good I intend to do, I can't grab the reins from Jesus.  No matter how much I fear, or worry, or doubt, I'm not in control. He also reminded me that  no matter how much good is in my heart, if I'm not vigilant, Satan can twist all of that good and turn it into something ugly if God isn't my focus in my attempts.

God wasn't in my focus.  He was in the background somewhere, because my desire for this family to know Him is what started this whole thing.  But he wasn't in control anymore.

Daddy said, "Read Phillipians 4:4-6."  Know what it says?  "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Peace.  I was chock-full of anxious, and I needed peace.

He told me to read it, and I couldn't get through it once without tears again.  Why?  Because it brought relief.  Burden-lifting peace.  The fight was winding down.  I could feel it.  Those words brought peace, as only the mind and heart of Jesus can do. 

He also shared Deuteronomy 29:29 with me: "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

 I'm not gonna pretend that I know exactly what in the world this verse it talking about, but it clearly states that there's a lot of God and what He does that we don't know.  Some things we do, but you can be sure that He's got a secret compartment in that mind of His that we don't know of.  For some reason, that spoke to me in a way that I don't think anything else could have in that moment. 


I don't know why exactly it is that I'm letting everybody know about what happened to me last week.  What I do know is that God is doing a work in my life.  I've felt a stirring within my soul for a couple of months, and my Bootsie says that this experience has been a preparatory storm in my life for what God is wanting to accomplish in me. 

I know that I can't "save" the whole world.  But I also know that God has placed a deeper desire for those that are lost and without Christ in my heart that I haven't felt before. I will continue to pray every day for this frail teenage boy and his mama, because they're close to my heart now.  I may never know what the outcome of my prayers are, but I don't have to.  All I can do now is pray, and that's ok.  God's word tells me that, sometimes, that's all we're to do.  Sometimes.  Other times, we have bigger parts to play.  I'm more open to that than ever.

I hope somebody else may find comfort in this.  If you do, let me know.  We can pray for each other, the world, and those individuals he places on our hearts together. 

And one more thing . . .

God, Jesus, the Bible . . . if these things aren't something you're familiar with and you want to figure all of this out, please send me a message through Facebook or to my email address:  What you find out will change your life.  I promise.

Love y'all.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Life Today

I kinda feel like I need Craig's permission before I write this post.  You know, just to make sure we're on the same page with everything.  I think that he'd agree with what I'm gonna let you in on here, though, so I'll fire away.

So, with great fear of jinxing everything I'm about to update everybody on, I'll go ahead and say that I think things have finally gotten into a pattern of leveling out.  And that's good.  Very good indeed.  Why?  Because for a while, I seriously thought that my capabilities were greatly waning.  I was questioning everything, and I really wasn't sure if I was doing things even a little bit right.  Lately, though, I've even sat down in the recliner in the living room and watched a little HGTV when the kiddos all hit the sack.  THAT is PROGRESS!

These days are different.  Some days are a lot different, some days are a little different, and some days still require a great deal of Dt. Mt. Dew.  But all in all, things are getting easier. 

Maya's eating is going very, very well.  She's taking all of her meals by spoon now, with virtually no bottle feedings at all, except for fluids.  She's off all baby food (with the exception of fruits, just because baby food is easier) and she eats the same food we eat.  My mom bought a Baby Bullet for us to use, so we puree everything that she eats.  She's still not chewing regularly.  She likes the flavor of yogurt melts, so I use that to manually help her learn to move her jaw up and down.  She seems to like the way it sounds when she uses her teeth, so that's a little motivation for her to do it on her own.  She won't do it for long, though, and she still doesn't know what to do with the food once its chewed up.  Again, its another new sensation for her that she'll have to get used to, but just like the other I'm confident that she'll pick it up when she's ready.  For now, we're just crazy happy to get her meals out of a bottle and into a spoon.

She's started school at the Sprayberry Center.  She goes on Mondays and Fridays, and here she receives occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy.  When I picked her up today, I got the chance to see her in action with her physical therapist and was able to talk to her about her progress and where we may see her at the end of the school year.  The therapist was helping her move from a sitting to standing position, and she said that she was very happy with where Maya was right now.  She expects Maya to have some orthotics soon to help her with support, primarily because her feet are so tiny.  Keep in mind that she's 3 1/2 and she's wearing a toddler size 3 in a shoe.  Just to give you a comparison, Daisee just turned four and she's in a 10.  She also expects to for Maya to be using a walker in the next few months, because her core support is increasing so well.  The grand result is that we fully expect her to be walking by the end of the school year.  This is fantastic news, obviously, and that day will certainly be welcomed with open arms.  And yes, we're still trying our darndest to get into RISE.  We'll keep trying until we eventually (hopefully) get accepted.

(Sorry that you're so blurry, Mattie.  Its just a cute pic of Maya that I needed to use.)

The other kids are making it in this big ol' family of six.  Ryan just returned from the Ironman Competition at Auburn University.  His CAP squadron competed as a team of six.  They didn't place in the top three, but I'm just extremely proud that he put his heart and soul into trying.  There were all sorts of physical tests they had to put themselves through, and I really wasn't sure he'd be all into competing, but he was excited to go, but EXHAUSTED when he came back.  I guess doing 600 sit-ups in less than 24 hours will do that to you. 

Daisee is still queen bee, with all of her eye-rolling and attitude-ing going on.  She's really kinda becoming a little sassy-pants, and we're having to put her in her place a little more than we used to.  I mean, we discipline, then turn the corner and go laugh when she says, "oh, grief . . ." at the thought of doing something she was told to do that wasn't exactly on her agenda at the moment.  We were hoping that when she had her checkup for her eyes a couple of weeks ago, we would see a little improvement, but we got nada.  One of her eyes sees 20/30, which isn't that terrible, but the other sees 20/70 which is just awful.  We're trying some prescription eye drops to try and strengthen the weak eye, and we'll go back in January to see what kind of progress we're making with those.  In the meantime, she'll just keep wearing her glasses and look cute.

Gavin is still doing well with homeschooling.  We're not attending co-op anymore, but he and I take Fridays and do something fun.  A couple of weeks ago we just had a science experiment day and got to make our own weather station and all sorts of goopy, gooey stuff . . .

We also got to go to All Fired Up one week and get artistic.  He's doin' up his own little soap dispenser . . . 'cause he's a germophobe and all.  He doesn't mind telling you that, either.
I know most of you want the dish on the kids, but for those that like a little romance in there with their comedy, Craig and I are still all up into each other, too.  Date nights continue to be a must, the occasional bouquet of flowers gets brought in, and an occasional 'just because' peck on the cheek continues to be appreciated and loved.  As I look back over the last seven years, God has truly had his hand all over us and our family.  I just never dreamed that all of this 'stuff' would happen when I joined forces with Craig Stewart.  Lots of ups and downs . . . LOTS.  But there's nobody in the world I'd rather ride the coaster with.  Another challenge?  Bring it. 
Just not today.  Property Brothers is about show, and I'd like to see that first.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Craig's Interview With Mark Foster of How To Be A Dad Today

A couple of weeks ago, Craig was contacted by Lifeline to participate in an interview with Mark Foster.  Mark plays many roles in his life being a pastor (Liberty Baptist Church - Holly Ridge, NC) , public speaker, dad, and husband.  He also operates a website ( that focuses on helping fathers become the men God has designed them to be. 

He contacted Craig last week and asked him to participate in his weekly podcast.  The interview focuses on special needs adoption, and he did a terrific job sharing his heart with the listeners. If you're interested, the link below will take you directly to the interview that was aired last Thursday.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Has Anybody Seen The Butter?

I'm back.

But I'm not so sure you should get used to it.  Things the last three weeks or so have gone so crazy, that I've begun to question the basic things I thought I knew the answer to.  Things like, "are these my socks?" , and "how did the butter end up in the bathroom cabinet?" are common types of questions that we hear on a daily basis now.  And I really don't know how to answer those things, because people, I have lost it.


I literally tossed it about three weeks ago. 

I'm realizing that craziness and chaos are what is going to consume this family for the next decade.  DECADE.  At least. 

Things have gotten hard.  Really hard.  There is NO time to sit down.  EVER.  We live every day literally completing one task only to start on another, and we're just plain worn out. 

Maya's eating took a nose dive.  She was doing so well the last time I wrote a blog post, but then she just stopped, and we have no clue as to what happened.  It was like the spoon terrified her again, and we were getting nowhere fast.  The frustration over this was about to eat us alive.  How could she do it one day, and then seem like she'd never done it at all the next?  And how in the world do you start all over in trying to teach somebody how to just simply swallow?  These are things that we all take so forgranted.  Just eating.  Maya doesn't yet have the cognition to just be able to eat, and its so incredibly hard to try and teach her when all she wants to do is shoot it back out.  I can't tell you how many times I've just broken down completely and SOBBED over this.  We're still in the process of coming back out of the cave on this issue, but the last few days have been better.  We think we've found a routine that seems to work for now, so until that turns into roadkill we'll keep doing what works for now. 

Things with the other kids have been at a non-stop pace, too.  Ryan has had football stuff every day, he and Gavin have gone back and forth to their dad's, doctor's appointments for everybody, we've all had this cruddy allergy/sinus stuff . . . seriously.  Just nonstop SOMETHING all of the time. 

There was one day that I just literally BROKE.  I was tired, I hadn't even carried on a conversation with my sweet husband the whole week, and stuff was breaking all over the place.  I sat on Ryan's bed and just wept while my mom listened.  That was truly my point of despair. 

This is all so hard.  We feel like we had kinda breezed through the first couple of months of bringing Maya home.  But then everything started happening at once and 'the way it is' wasn't the way we really wanted it to be.  Something had to change, because if it didn't we were going to literally end up in a heap on top of each other.

I was able to regroup and refocus.  Around the same time this happened, when I was questioning everything about what we had done (don't judge . . . y'all know I tell it all), I got notification that one of the little boys I had specifically prayed for in Bulgaria had died.  In his same institution, in his same crib, with no one.  He had died, and God reminded me all over again why we did what we did.
He reminded me again that this task he sent us to accomplish wasn't going to be an easy one.  We thought we realized this in our heads, but once we began to put LIFE into practice, it started getting  difficult.  Everything about it was squeezing us, and what was coming out wasn't what should've been. 

Since that point, things have been on the upswing.  As I said before, Maya's eating is getting a little better.  But we know, now, that it could bottom out all over again.  We're prepared, and we're not gonna fight her this time.  We'll wait until she's ready again and start over.  Football for TCHS is almost over.  Maya is scheduled to have surgery on her eyes November 1st to open up both tear ducts, but after that and a follow-up, hopefully we'll be done with doctor's appointments for a while.  Craig and I have made it a point that, at least every couple of weeks, we need to get out by ourselves for a real date.  Its hard to remember to do that when things are so fast paced, but its a priority.  So whether there's technically money for a babysitter in the budget or not, we're headed out to hold hands and be mushy for a while.

We had a great day today.  My mom and I loaded up the little kids, along with John William and Eli, and we went to the Barnyard for a little field trip.  The weather was beautiful and there was so much for them to do.  I wasn't sure how Maya would do in an environment like this, but I think she had a great time.  I took lots of pictures . . .

The pigs were definitely my favorite.  Cutest.  Things.  Ever.

If it looks like Daisee was squeezing this defenseless chick to death, that's because she absolutely was.  At one point, the poor thing couldn't even open its eyes because of the pressure of that sweet little hand of hers.

Maya liked the chick for 3.47 seconds . . .

Gavin loves this picture.  Its his 'photo bomb' that cracks him up . . .



Hayride . . .


And my favorite two pics . . .
This one below is definitely the picture of the day.  A Maya first . . . this is what brings the smile to my face when I REMEMBER why God chose US . . .
Simple delight. 
Just keep praying for all of us here.  We know there will be ups and downs, but sometimes we just need these reminders. 
Love to all,