Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pray for HOPE!!

Hi guys, I have to share this because I would hope that if we were in this families position with Landon, that complete strangers would be calling in the masses to pray for a miracle.

I first read Amy's blog while we were at Amplatz with Landon. Amy's brother is on staff at the same YWAM base in Australia as my brother and it just so happened that they also just had a baby with a heart defect. I have never met them or even emailed Amy, but I have felt such a connection with them because Hope and Landon are so close in age and both fighting against their broken hearts.

I just read Amy's latest blog post today and my heart stopped. They are at a place right now that is every parents worst nightmare. They are running out of hope and options for their precious baby girl.

PLEASE read their story and hit your knees. I can only imagine what they are going through.

Photo by amyakoslowski 

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Open Hand

There have been many times, in the past couple days, where I've been really discouraged about the pillow pet fundraiser. I am constantly wondering how it is all going to work out. The big lie satan has been hammering me on the head with is that people will stop reading my blog if I start to ask for money.

Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. It is excruciatingly humbling. Who wants to be humbled right? Ryan and I had to get over our pride of not accepting help very quickly simply because we could NOT do it on our own. Without the help of Medicaid, Early Intervention, and our friends and family I don't know where we would be today or where Landon would be for that matter.

It is part of our sinful nature to want to do things on our own. To be independent and not have to rely on others for our needs. Independence is a good thing up to a point. We want Landon to grow up and gain independence so that he can one day live and make decisions on his own, but we also want our boy to know that he is just a part of something so much bigger. We want him to understand that the body of Christ needs to work together if we are to do anything worth doing. We were not meant to live our lives in a bubble. We need others, especially when it comes to helping those in need. The more open Ryan and I have become to accepting help the more we have witnessed God flooding his blessings over us. If we work together and live our lives with an open hand, knowing that whatever God places in it is not ours, we're freed up to accept the blessings of others and also to pour out blessings on those around us. We have found this to be so TRUE. The more people give to us the more we want to give to others. When I remind myself of these things, the pillow pet idea becomes so beautiful. I can't think of it as us begging for money so that WE can go do something, but instead it's us joining hands with all of you and fulfilling what we were made for.... being the hands, feet, and words of Christ to the world.

I cannot thank each of you enough for joining with us in this act of Christ. It would be impossible for us to accomplish what God wants to do without you. Even though we will be the ones going to the hospital, meeting the children and giving them their gift, we do not play a greater role than those of you who have given or are praying for us and for the children.

Last night we received an amazing blessing from some we have known forever and some we don't know at all. We continue to be blown away at Gods provision and we can't imagine the blessings we would have missed out on if we did not live our life with an open hand. Most of us have heard that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. We believe this wholeheartedly, but what we have found is that God delights in GIVING. For so many months of our journey with Landon I just felt like God was taking taking taking from us. He was taking our dreams, taking our money, taking our joy, taking our son. When in reality, He was giving to us all along. Yes, he had to break us. Yes, he took away all of our dreams and expectations for our future, BUT he GAVE to us a better future then we could of EVER dreamed.

I am not saying any of this to make you feel guilty so you give to the pillow fund. I'm speaking more to myself actually then any of you when I say that, when we give to others, we ALWAYS receive something greater back. I'm not speaking of material things or preaching a prosperity gospel. The something greater I'm talking about is something that this world can never take away. It's understanding, it's love, it's more of God and less of me, and there is NOTHING I want more than that.

May we seek to live each day with an open hand.

Thank you again to all of you. We love you like crazy and you make us feel crazy loved!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Barley loaves & pillow pets


 You know when you're just going about your day and your mind just happens to slide across something that feels bigger than anything that could fit in your puny selfish noggin? Well that happened to me today. I was thinking about how we will be going back to the hospital soon and what our time there will look like. Then I thought of the families that we saw while we were there last time. I wonder if some of them are still there. Heartbreaking. I wondered what we could do to encourage them when we go back. This time we are in a different place emotionally. Landon will not have to have an open heart surgery (at least not yet) so his recovery time will be faster (hopefully). This time we could reach out beyond his small PICU room.

This is still only an idea floating around in my mind. Well no, it's already made it's way to my heart. I believe God would like us to bring the children a special toy. I haven't made this idea vocal yet, meaning I haven't told Ryan. I'm anxiously watching the clock... waiting for noon when he will come home for lunch. Poor Ryan, he gets hit with so much over his lunch break. This is also when I sprung on him the idea of running a half marathon that I only had two weeks to train for, or just yesterday the proposal of us going to MN this weekend. It is taking all of my self control not to pick up my phone and text him, "God gave me an idea. Can't wait to tell you about it!" But I know that would just make his imagination go wild with the crazy possibilities and he may skip lunch all together haha. No, best to catch him off guard when he is away from the stresses of work and has food in his mouth :)

After playing around with the idea more and more and asking God to show me what toys would be best. My eyes wandered onto Landon's froggie pillow pet and instantly I thought, "that would be perfect!". Most of you with children in your house are already aware of these soft cuddly animals that turn into pillows, here's Landon laying on his.

Ryan and I could buy a couple kids one, but there are so many little warriors in that hospital that need a little joy. So that's why I'm writing this on my blog and not just simply in my journal. I want to give each of you an opportunity to reach out to these special kids.

I will write more after I talk to Ryan, get his approval, and brainstorm details. I am so excited! Clock go FASTER!!!


I must humbly admit that I've played with the notion of forgetting about this. In the past couple hours I have felt relief that I could let this go and because I haven't posted this or told anyone yet, I would have no accountability. I don't want to ask people for money for pillow pets. At times the whole idea just seems silly. It's not that important... right?

Yes, all I am trying to do is buy strange shaped pillows that have a small semblance to animals, and it would be easy to say it doesn't matter, but I was hit by the painful reality that these are for children. I can't ignore this because that would be ignoring what these kids go through everyday. For most kids it would just be a toy, but for a child who spends their entire day stuck in a bed day in and day out, this could be a friend, someone to hold when they're getting blood drawn, someone to talk to late at night when they can't sleep. More than that, I believe Jesus could use these pillows to tell these kids and their families that He cares. He hasn't forgotten about them... even though their schools still have class without them, their friends still have fun without them, even though to some of them it may feel like life is just going on without them while their stuck in that hospital bed and people have forgotten about them, God hasn't forgotten. God spoke this to my heart, "I can't forget about them Natalie, can you?" The answer is no! NO, there is no way I can forget the faces that I saw in that hospital. I want to go back there and bring smiles to them.

So I told Ryan all about it at lunch and he said, "I think that is great!" The only concerns he had were for the older kids. While we were in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) we saw some kids who had to be at least 15. "They wont want a pillow pet. I don't want to just forget about them because their older." Oh how I love that mans heart :) but truthfully I don't know what we could get for them. We decided to just start with the pillow pets and see where God takes it.  I am so blessed to have a husband who shares my heart for the hurting.

Why pillow pets?

I want the toy we bring to be something nice, something that they will really get excited about. God knows these kids need a little excitement in their lives. We noticed last time that the toys that these kids were given were usually cheaply made. Don't get me wrong, I know that kids will love any toy no matter how much it cost, but I just feel like they deserve something nice. I have seen how kids love these things. When I worked in the daycare most of the kids had one and they made nap times a little more fun :) Also, what a perfect thing for kids who are cooped up in a hospital bed all day. They can fold it up and cuddle with it or use it for a pillow.

A regular size pillow pet cost $19.99 and a peewee one (like Landon's) costs $15.99 I have emailed the company that makes them and asked if they would be willing to give us a discount, but I have not heard back from them yet. I realize these are expensive, but let's face it, for most of us, it's nothing more than we would spend on a toy for our own children and not bat an eye. It truly is not much for most of us, but for a parent who has lost their job because they have had to move so their child can get the care they need, it's not possible to spend money on something like a nice toy. My heart tears for these parents that have given up everything because they don't want to lose their baby. We want to show them we care, hear their stories, pray with them, encourage them, hug their children, basically we just want to bring God's light into a very dark and fearful place. We know that "people don't care what you know until they know that you care" in other words, people don't care about your Jesus, until they see Him and feel His love through you.

Ryan and I would also love to give them to any siblings that God leads us to. These kids often feel even more forgotten then the child who is stuck in the hospital bed.

Our goal is to buy 100! We realize this is a lot of money, but I know there are a lot of you out there who have hearts that break for these kids too. If you feel led and are able to give, Ryan has set up a fundraiser site, just click the yellow button that says "donate" at the top of this page. Each gift is so appreciated, even if it's just a $1 or 2. I'm also going to try to get a facebook site up and running sometime soon. We do not know yet when Landon's heart cath will be. He has an echo on the 3rd of Oct. in Bismarck then we're assuming they'll want us in Minneapolis soon after.

This is just a small idea, but we're giving it to the same God who once took 5 small barley loaves and 2 fish and fed over 5,000 people. So here we are Lord. Standing here with outstretched empty arms. Only You can take nothing and make it into something meaningful. We'd love to be the vessel that carries your love into the places that are so full of fear and hopelessness.

I know one little boy who thinks it's a good idea :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How far we've come!

I had hopes of writing a post last night, but instead I stayed up too late with my brother and Ryan talking and laughing at stupid youtube videos.

I went with my dad, brother, and Ryan to pick up my dad's race packet. The whole way there, he kept asking my brother if he was going to surprise him again. When we got there he went in and I just followed behind him not really knowing what I was supposed to do, if I was just going to give the person my name as well and that would be the surprise. But the woman pointed my dad to a board outside with all the racers names and bib numbers. She told him to go find his number and then come back. YES! I thought to myself this will be so good! So as my dad was searching the big board for his name I hurried and found mine. I pointed at it and said, "dad, who's this?" He looked up. Maxwell.... Natalie...WHAT!! You're running?? He was so excited. He hugged me and told me that now it was going to be much more fun :)

We enjoyed our carb load supper to the last bite. By the time I finally went to bed, I had a really bad headache from depriving my body of my daily coffee(s) and my stomach was beyond stuffed. At this point, I was not excited for the next day. I was scared. "I don't know if I'm ready." I told myself. Ryan and I prayed before he fell asleep and then I just laid there for a while squeezing the bridge of my nose, for some reason that seemed to help my headache. I laid there and told God to please make me feel better tomorrow. I need to be excited for this, but right now, I'm not.

My alarm was set for 5AM, but God woke me up at 4:50 just so I could spend a couple minutes soaking in the excitement and adrenaline that I was so thankful He had given me. We got ready, got Landon bundled for his big day. It finally hit me when I put on my race bib that this was really going to happen.

We made it to the race early so that a man from the race committee could show Ryan where he was supposed to be waiting with the stroller. 

It was freezing!!

When the announcer said that it was time for the marathon and half marathon runners to start lining up, I still didn’t feel ready. I kissed Ryan and my baby boy and told him I’d see him soon. “We’re going to finish this thing love bug.” More kisses and then I had to leave the security of the sidelines and venture onto the pavement. I still didn’t feel ready. It started to hit me when we were listening to the star spangled banner just how amazing the moment was that I was in. My eyes got teary as I thought about five and a half months ago when we didn’t know if Landon would ever make it out of the OR and today I get to finish a half marathon with him. That realization was exactly what I needed to give me the encouragement that I could do this. With God, I could do this. I heard the starting shot and then the crowd around me began to move. I started at the 2 hour mark so that I could start with my dad so for the first 10-15 min everyone was passing me. I didn’t care. I wasn’t doing this to finish at any certain time, I just wanted to make it back to my family, so that we could finish this thing TOGETHER.

I had another realization during mile 1 or 2. I realized I was NOT prepared for this. My side was killing me and I was telling myself that this is why people train for more than two weeks. God showed me, at that time though, that I wasn’t only running this race for Landon and for our family. I was running it for every mama of a child with special needs. Because nothing anyone says or does can prepare you for it. It doesn’t matter how many books you read or how many other moms you talk to, NOTHING can prepare you for the journey that God has chosen for you. When I thought about that the side ache didn’t matter, in fact it seemed fitting. It was right that I was unprepared and it was ok that I was in pain, because I’m running this for my long hill and I wouldn’t trade him for any amount of easy.

I found my pace (slow and steady) and just settled in for the ride that God was about to take me on. I knew this race would be more than physical, it was going to be emotional and spiritual. When the side ache went away and I could breathe again, I felt good. I thought about all of the amazing blessings and overcoming joy we’ve experienced this past year. I praised God with every step.

It wasn’t long into the race before I could see the hill in the distance. I knew that was where I was headed. I can’t say I was physically prepared for it, but I wanted it. I knew at the top was my family. It was an amazing sight looking up and seeing a sea of different colored race shirts covering the hill. I thought about how I’m not in this alone. I thought about all the other amazing heart moms that have gone before me, paving the way, telling me that it’s hard, but it’s worth it. I thought about the mommies who’s babies have already finished their race on this earth. I cried for them, but I know that someday they will cross the finish line in Heaven and not even the Boston marathon can hold a candle to that day. I can't imagine how hard it is for them to run each day on this earth without their child, but oh how beautiful that finish line reunion will be.

I was surprised by the boost of excitement I got as I reached the bottom of the hill. When I went across the bridge where Ryan and I started running just a week prior, I knew that I could do this again. Knowing that I had already ran it with Ryan by my side gave me so much strength. I knew he was carrying me with his prayers and love. I knew he was at the top waiting for me. I hope this doesn’t sound stupid, but the hill actually felt like home. I had run it before, physically and symbolically. I no longer hate it because I know that it’s where God is. I did not stride up that thing. I forcefully placed one foot in front of the other and with each step I took I thought about my long hill.

I thought about the night when I was pregnant and home alone. How I flailed around on our bed, kicking and screaming and yelling WHY at God. Telling him I couldn’t do it, that he was wrong when he chose me to carry this long hill. I screamed into the pillow soaking it with my hot hysterical tears.  It wasn’t pretty, but today I thanked God for that night. I thanked God for making me climb through the pain. For letting me scream at Him and for holding me through those extremely dark nights.

I thought about how hard it was for me as a brand new mommy to sit up in my hospital room, floors away from my baby. All I had to remind me that I was his mommy was my now empty squishy belly and the pictures I uploaded of him on my laptop.

I thought about the day after he was born when I got to hold him again, this time for more than a minute. I remembered how when they placed him in my arms I felt complete. My soul breathed a sigh of relief and told me, yes, this is how it is supposed to be.

I remembered how the joy of that moment was swallowed whole by the heartbreak of seeing my baby that evening after his long first day in the OR. I wanted so badly to hold him again. I wanted him to look up at me and smile again to tell me that he is happy in this world. That he is glad God brought him here to be with us. But I never heard his smile tell me that. The only words his face spoke of were pain and emptiness. I heard him down in the place of my heart that he will always hold and in that place he told me... I didn't think this was what it was supposed to be like. Is this what being in a family is? Is this what love feels like mama?

 I wanted to grab him out of that incubator. To rescue him from all of his cords and tubes and tell him, "NO, baby boy! This is not what your life will be like. This is not what family is. Family is a beautiful thing. It is safe and warm. Love is hugs, warm cuddles, and bedtime stories. It's stroller rides and this little piggie games. Life will not always be like this my child, I promise. I promise you Landon.

But I couldn't even pick my child up.

I remember longing to be able to place him back in my womb. He was safe there. I could protect him and hold him there.

I felt so helpless.

As I ran that long hill I forced myself to keep remembering. I prayed that God would take me back and heal those places in my heart that still bleed from the memories. Bring healing to them Lord.

Bring healing to the day when we had to say good bye to our baby. Bring healing to that mommies heart that walked empty and lifeless into that OR waiting room. Bring healing to the moment we saw him again for the first time.

I remembered how I approached his bed like it was an open coffin. My baby wasn't in there. My baby couldn't possibly be in there. I remembered praying that he wasn't. I remembered how I actually asked God to somehow keep his heart beating, but Lord please take his spirit. Please take his spirit to Heaven for a while and hold him on your lap. Read him his favorite book, "On the Night You Were Born". Read him the page where it says Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn, on the wonderful marvelous night you were born. I can't read it to him here God. I can't read it to him like this, so please take him for tonight Lord. Take him until it's safe for him to come back into his broken little body. Protect him from this Father PLEASE please Jesus.

I remembered feeling numb so many days.

I remembered how I would go into the bathroom and break down because I didn't want Ryan to have to see me like that... again.

I wanted to be done remembering. I wanted to just focus on the race, on the hill that was in front of me. On getting up it and seeing my family, but God told me no. He told me this was needed. He whispered to my heart that the finish line wont matter unless I know the journey it took to get there.

I agreed.

So I went there. I went to the memory that I push as far back whenever it returns to the front of my mind. The one that haunts me. The images are still so vivid in my mind, I know I will never forget.

We were so excited when they told us that Landon was going to get his chest tube out. Having any cord or tube removed is such a victory. We told the doctors that we wanted to stay in the room while they removed it. A couple nurses came in and stood around Landon's bed. I stood by his head and let him grab my finger with his tiny frail hand. Ryan stood right behind me with the camera. For some reason we thought this was going to be a moment we would want to remember. We thought it was a big day for Landon, his first step to recovery. One of the nurses began peeling off the bandage, revealing his incision, the doorway to his broken heart, for the first time. I bent down and put my mouth right by his ear and whispered to him to be brave and that we were there and we love him so much. Then we watched in horror as our heavily sedated child writhed in pain. They told us that he would hardly feel anything, but I knew right away that they lied. My child was hurting and because he couldn't speak, they didn't listen to him. Landon would open his mouth to scream in pain but because of the breathing tube lodged down his throat, no cry could be heard. But I heard him. Just ask any mama who has had an abortion and if she is honest to the depths of her soul she will tell you that she has heard the silent cries of her unborn child. Some people try to take the voice away from innocent life, but they cannot steal it out of a mothers heart. I leaned down closer to Landon and kept telling him that I hear him. No one else could hear him, but I could hear him and those silent cries of agony will forever haunt me. He squeezed my finger so hard. He squeezed it with more strength then he should of had. He couldn't even open his eyes because of the access fluid in his body, but my heart broke inside when tears somehow found their way out and slid down his swollen cheeks.

As I was climbing my physical hill and also this emotional one in my mind I no longer had the energy to cry, but my heart was shedding a thousand tears. God how can I bring healing to that? He replied, if you could go back what would you tell him today? I thought about it. I thought about these past 5 months that we have been able to keep him in the safety of our home. I would tell him that the pain really wouldn't last forever. That someday his days will be filled with laughter. That each morning his face will brighten as mama or papa lift him out of his crib and welcome him into a new day. I would tell him of the adventures we would go on.

The walks in the park

 The laughter that he would be a part of
 How if he wants, mama will hold him all day
I would tell him how much fun his life will be and how we will pour out all of our love on him.

Just hold on baby boy, if you just hold on and keep fighting there will soon be a finish line. The hill is so hard now, but there is a beautiful life waiting for you at the top.

As I was thinking and pondering over all of these things my thoughts were occasionally interrupted when I would meet someone walking up the hill. I tried my best to encourage each one. I marveled at how the statement "Because with God no hill is too high to climb" and the proof of my Landon's picture on the back of my shirt gave them the encouragement to start running again. They would soon pass me and I just thought that was the most beautiful thing. It brought me to tears that even out on that long hill my child was inspiring others to keep running the long hill God has placed in front of them.

The hill just seemed to keep going. I turned the corner and there was more hill that I had never climbed before, but I knew just at the top was my family. Oh how I hoped they were there.

I turned another corner and soon I saw them. My mom, brother, Ryan and Landon. I threw my hands up in the air so they could see me and then they jumped to their feet and began cheering.

It was amazing to see them! It reminded me that I was taking this one for the team. I was running this race not for myself, but for our whole family. In so many ways it was personal healing for me, but I wouldn't be running this long hill without Ryan and he was the one who encouraged me to run the physical hill too. We do everything together. We share in life's sorrows and we rejoice together in life's victory's.

As I ran around the university I took in the beauty of the hill top. It was magnificent. 

As I finished my treck around the campus and began propelling down the hill I thought about our many hill top experiences over the past 5 months.

I remembered how scared we were to bring Landon home, but how our fear slowly faded as we began to sink into and discover our new family. We would study this new tiny human who all of a sudden holds a forever place in our family and in our hearts.

We couldn't believe how perfectly he fit with us. Soon we forgot what life was like before him.

You forget the long hill you've climbed until some little hills rear their heads in front of your smooth perfect path. That happened to me during the race. Out of nowhere I would feel the familiar change of an incline and I would adjust myself to the larger of amount of energy that was needed to make it. I remembered how sometimes even little hills can feel like monsters trying to swallow your joy.

I thought of the horrible day that I took Landon to the pediatrician for what was supposed to be a very quick procedure, but it turned into me holding my screaming bleeding baby for close to 2 hours. See

I thought about the days we have where the stress of it all just seems too overwhelming.

The days when I worry about Landon's color or his raspy breathing.

The days when the jealousy that comes from seeing other women getting to experience the joys of their first weeks with their little one that I never got to experience try to pull me over to the side of bitterness.

All of these things are small in comparison to our time in the hospital but they are all part of our long journey. I have found that you can never compare journeys by the size of the hills others are climbing. The size of the hill doesn't matter when you're climbing it and all you can think about is your waning strength.

I got over each of the small hills just as I do with the ones in life. I relied on God for strength and took one step at a time.

People say that running marathons is hard, but really it isn't complicated at all. All you do is the same thing over and over and over. I believe that anyone can run just as long as they know how to place one foot in front of the other. The hard part is that you have to keep doing that one thing for a VERY long time. I think that is why running is so relatable to life. God will give us the strength we need for each day if we would just stop looking at the huge journey in front of us and start focusing on each tiny step at a time. Our long hill taught us that. It's not about reaching the finish line. It's the journey in between the start and finish that makes life beautiful. It's each forced step that causes your foot to blister a little more, each hard trial that makes you a little bit wiser.

God reminded me of our journey and because I, in a way, got to hammer out all or our hardest and most joyful days, the finish line was more than just the end of a physical race. It was closure. It was healing. Not that I don't still have the traumatic memories floating around in my mind or that they don't still hurt to think of, but I know that God has made even those horrible times beautiful. They served a purpose.

They brought me here...

Ryan caught up to me and we ran a tiny ways hand in hand before he took off so he could be at the finish line.

I will never forget that moment. I started crying as soon as I got to Landon and my tears only increased when I heard people cheering for me, cheering Landon's name! It was so beautiful! I would push my child up any hill or run any race with him, but I desperately need you guys. It was a marvelous example to me of prayer. How when we pray for each other it gives us the strength and encouragement to keep running our races.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                       Hebrews 12:1

I was finally able to stop running. It was finished. I finished it with my Landon. I laid my head on the handle of the stroller and sobbed. Letting the last of the emotional build up go. A woman who I met during the race (she asked if the baby in the picture was mine) came and put her arm around me and said, "this must be Landon." I just smiled.

Yes, this is my long hill and he is so worth every tear, every blister, every drop of sweat, every sleepless night, every horrifying thing that God will put me through to teach me that this is what love feels like.

If I could go back Landon. If I could go back to your first day when you asked me if this is what love feels like, I would tell you yes. Sometimes love feels like pain. Love sometimes doesn't make sense to us. It's painful and it demands every once of strength we have. I would tell you that sometimes the abundant life looks alot more like death. I would tell you that the best families give each other what is best even if they know it is going to hurt the one they love the most. I can't tell you that if you love Jesus Landon your life will be easy. I can guarantee you that it will not be, but look at what we accomplished today baby boy. We finished the race and no race is worth running if the journey to the finish line is easy. You will see people in your life blame God for their pain, but you remember child that pain has purpose and if you let it God will take your pain and paint it into a beautiful masterpiece using colors that only Heaven has seen. Remeber Landon.... remember today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I knew the title of this post would catch your attention and draw you in HA ha it worked :) The other option I thought of was "fundraiser" but who wants to click on a link that says that right?

I would of loved to have done a fundraiser for this race on Saturday to raise money for Childrens Heart foundation, a organization that's very near and dear to our heart, but it's extremely hard and probably not worth it to put something like that together with only 2 weeks. 

With that said, I'll get to the point. Adoption is something God has laid (hard) on my heart. I've known since I was eight that it is a road God is calling me (and now our whole family) down. Obviously the timing is not right for us now, but he has suddenly brought many amazing woman into my life who have and are in the process of adopting. They inspire me and the passion they have for adoption is contagious. Last night I was reading one of their blogs and my heart ached. To think of the journey God has placed them on. How long they have waited and how hopeless they must feel at times that they will ever bring their child home... I can't imagine this kind of pain. They are walking a very LONG hill.

God woke me up at 4:30AM with a idea and that idea has drawn me to the glowing light of my laptop. I'm hoping that with my fingers dancing over these keys, this morning, I can some how reach across the world and play a very small role in bringing a daughter home to her family.

So what I'm asking is that any of you who have been blessed by Landon's story would reach into your pockets a little bit and be a blessing to someone else for my special boy. We desire for Landon's story to be a light to all who are hurting. To all who wonder what the heck God is doing. To all who feel hopeless. We do not want the scar on Landon's chest to blind him to the pain of others, but instead push him to reach out to them. We want him to be someone who sees pain and hurting and doesn't turn a blind eye.

So please, in support of Landon and my insane decision to run this LONG hill on Saturday, click on this link and give a donation to help this amazing family bring their daughter home. Read their story. Be blessed. Be inspired. And in turn be a blessing.

You all are awesome! I can't believe how blessed we are to have the best blog support group EVER! Please let me share you :) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcoming a new season

Any chance I had at getting a big head because someone from the race committee asked if they could share our story and my contact information with a media reporter was dashed on my run this morning when I caught a glimpse of my shadow. I had to do a double take because I could of swore it belonged to a 90 year old grandma pushing a walker. Granted it was windy… really windy.

I ran 8 miles and with a stroller I think that = at least 13.2 so I’m telling myself that I’m ready for this thing on Saturday. We’re planning on running the hill one more time tomorrow night and then it’s rest and school cramming until my family arrives on Friday and I get to surprise my dad when we go to pick up his (wink wink) race packet.

I’m a ball of anxiety right now, but it helps running. Today as I ran through the park the trees seemed to be telling me, with every falling leaf, that fall is coming. A new season is upon us. I am excited for fall. I’m excited to wear jeans everyday again and bulky sweaters. This year my sweaters will remain bulky because I will not have a baby tummy to fill them. This year will be different in so many ways. I am excited to experience fall for the first time with my boy. To show him how the leaves change color and the wind has a different smell then any other season. To tell him how you suddenly begin to crave apple pies and pumpkin spice lattés. I love how everything is new to Landon. His tiny world is magical and enthralling and watching him live in it makes me want to breath deeper and take in every precious moment.

I know that next year my boy will not be content just watching the world, he will want to touch it and experience it for himself. I will not simply point out the leaves to him, I will be rolling in them with him. I will not be able to take him outside in only his monkey socks, he will need shoes. I will not only be able to tell him about apple pie, I will be wiping it off of his face. I’ve said it before, but I need to remind myself daily, that this time will go so incredibly fast. I will blink and he will be walking. I don’t want to miss a moment. I don’t want to miss out on fall because I am waiting for the excitement of Christmas or miss out on snuggling on the couch to stay warm because I’m wishing for hot summer days again. Satan wants to get us to this place. This place where we are constantly waiting and wishing for a new season of life. I don’t want to fall into that trap. I want to enjoy every season because once it’s gone you can never get it back.

So I’m taking in the blisters and the drool and the tiny hand that clenches itself around the skin of my neck because I know I cannot have this forever.

Landon, I love...

how you've started reaching for things

and putting them in your mouth
how you interlace your tiny fingers in mine
reading to you
watching you with your papa
going into your nursery when I think your asleep only to find you mesmerized by the ceiling fan

that moment when I'm feeding you when you slowly stop sucking and drift off to sleep. I pull the bottle out and formula dribbles down your chin. You have taught me not to be so quick to clean up messes, but to wait and enjoy the moment.
your monkey socks

I love everything about being your mama my child. Thank you for teaching me to enjoy each season as it comes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

9-8-12 A Surprise From Down Under

I ended my last post by saying that the rest of this month should be pretty uneventful and I hopefully wouldn't need to blog as much so I could get ahead in school....HA! For one, I don't know what I was thinking because the race is coming up next week and will definitely be keeping you guys informed on how that goes. AND TWO, God had something crazy up His sleeve which is what I will be telling you guys about today. Most of you have probably seen pictures on facebook, but this is the story behind the pictures.

I just got back from a run. On this run I thought about life. I thought about how God is this amazing author who writes the stories of all of His characters and how He delights in intertwining all of His characters stories so that, like a puzzle, they all fit together into this beautiful picture. This beautiful novel of a story that will take us all of eternity to discover. I was immensely blessed by God this week. Most weeks I just go about my life, living my story, but this week God gave me a glimpse of how HUGE the story is that I'm living.

I blogged about my day on Thurs. about the letter, with the check that came in the mail and about going to Landon's appointment. It was such a long day. I wasn't able to get very much school worked on during the day so I made a cup of coffee at 9PM and buckled down to get stuff done. Ryan was cleaning the apartment, washing dishes, folding laundry, picking up toys. I told him to stop cleaning and just relax, that I would clean the next day, but he insisted that he wanted to and that I just needed to keep working on my assignments. So I did. Around 12AM I was getting tired and wanted to go to bed, but Ryan told me to just finish one more chapter. "Yes, sir." I said mockingly. I was secretly glad that Ryan was being tough on me because I knew that I would feel so much better if I got a little more done. I was still studying at 12:45AM when Ryan told me that he forgot something out in the car and was going to go get it. I didn't think much of it, but told him to be careful. I went back to my book and was trying to concentrate when I heard loud voices outside. I was a little worried and wondered if I should go out on the balcony to make sure it wasn't Ryan getting mugged or something (I worry way too much). I tried to ignore it and keep reading. A little while later I heard the door (this was when it started to get weird), I thought it was Ryan, but then I heard a woman's voice. I froze. This was one of those moments when you have a ton of thoughts in like 30 nano seconds. Thoughts like these, OH no, a drunk crazy lady just came into our apartment! What do I do! Scream and tell her to get out? Run and get the decorative sword we have in our bedroom and threaten to stab her if she doesn't? My thought process was interrupted when my best friend walked around the corner and said, "hey, can I stay here a couple nights??" I was in SHOCK!! "Anna! What are you doing here? WHAT!!!" I couldn't believe she was standing in my living room at 1AM. I don't really remember much after that. I hugged her, told her she was crazy. Frankly I don't think I said very much. Ryan came inside and asked how I like my surprise? I punched him on the arm. I couldn't believe he kept such a big secret from me. We were standing in the entry way when Anna, told me that there was another surprise outside the door that she brought with her. I assumed right away that it was another friend because I had seen that they were talking on facebook about coming to see me. I opened the door completely expecting to see my other girlfriend, but I didn't....... I saw my brother. I whispered loudly (yes, you can whisper loudly) "what!!" and then I burst into tears.

I can't explain that moment. I was not expecting to see my brother for another year. I've mentioned him a little on here before, but for those of you who don't know, he lives in Australia. He works with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) there. He left last October and committed to staying there for 2 years so we all understood that we wouldn't see him for that long. My brother is my only sibling and we couldn't be closer. He is my best friend. This past year was so hard, but something that made it even harder was not having him here. Not being able to pick up the phone and cry with him. Not having him there when Landon was born or going through his surgeries. Just this past week, after another week went by without talking to him, I told Ryan that I don't think I will get to talk to my brother for another year. He's so busy, I'm so busy, the time difference, it just never works out to skype. "We'll talk to him soon" Ryan said. I didn't think anything of this comment. I just thought he meant we would figure out a way to connect through skype. So when my brother walked through our door I was witnessing the impossible and it was overwhelming. I just cried and kept saying "how are you here?" Thankfully Ryan grabbed the camera, but for some reason only got one picture. It's not my best, but I think it portrays how I was feeling in that moment. Matt decided to lighten the mood by telling me that they've been planning it for weeks. He said what him and Anna wanted to do was get a huge box and put it outside our door. Anna would tell me that I had a present outside and I would open the door and Matt would pop out of the box, looking sore and exhausted. He would then get out, stretch, and tell me that, "that was the longest trip he'd ever taken, but it was so much cheaper to be shipped here rather then fly." LOL "And you're so gullible, you would of believed it." haha Truth is, I was in so much shock I just might have.

By now it was around 1:30AM but I had to get Landon and have him meet his uncle, who I thought he would never meet until he was over 1 yr. old.

As soon as I brought him out into the living room, he was wide awake. He would not take his eyes off of Anna. I don't think he remembers seeing a black person before. We were all cracking up because he was so curious about her.

Not taking his eyes off Anna
It was priceless to get to watch him meet his uncle Matty for the first time
His new Aussie Koala bear

 After passing Landon around for a while, I put him back to bed and we all crashed in the living room. I was still wanting to learn how this whole surprise all came to be. Matt told us that a couple months ago his boss came to him and told him that he needed to go see his family. He gave him a $1,000 to do it. Matt then contacted Anna and they began plotting out their plan. A couple weeks before they came they told Ryan. I just couldn't believe that all of this went on under my nose. It all was starting to make sense. Why Ryan was a cleaning machine, why he kept pushing me to stay up later, why Matt never got back to me about skyping this week, all of the text messages Ryan was getting that night. Then we started talking about Gods perfect timing. Ryan told me how blown away he was when people brought us meals and groceries because he knew that we would be having company. We talked, laughed, and pigged out on Australian candy until late in the AM. We grabbed pillows and all slept in our living room like we were kids at a sleepover. My brother and I were the last to fall asleep, we stayed up until 5AM catching up on life, talking like we used to when we were kids.

My brother and Anna only stayed for a day and 1/2, but every moment was cherished. The hard laughter and the tight hugs brought healing to areas of my soul that were still bleeding from the trauma and could only be fixed by a big brothers presence. Looking back on this week, I can't find words for it. It is one of those weeks where the mundane and the miraculous collided. Only God.... those are the only words I can think of to describe it... only God. Only God could of known the stress we would have from bills, worrying about Landon, and a broken down jeep. Only God could of spoke to Matt's boss, all the way over in Australia, and told him to give my brother $1,000 and tell him to go see his family. Only God is so sweet and thoughtful to fill our fridge with groceries and even provide meals so that I didn't feel the stress of cooking for our unexpected company. Only God could of known what this visit would mean to me and that I needed to just soak it all in. Only God knew that I would decide to run this race for Landon. Only God knows the closure it will bring to our family and that my brother needs to be here for it.

I was thinking of all of these things as I was running tonight. How God orchestrated everything. He used our stressful situations to provide for us... who does that?? ONLY GOD! If you have ever doubted that God is a personal God that delights in you and wants to have an intimate relationship with you. I pray that our story is evidence to you.

God is the author and we are only the characters he has created. God knows that we want to be the authors of our own story and that we try to steal the pen right out of His hand to write a better story for ourselves. What's crazy is that He gives it to us. God gives us a thing called free will, this allows us to make our own choices. He could of made us into robots that always did what he said but He didn't. He didn't because He doesn't want us to be forced to love Him. I was tempted this week to take the pen away from God. Our jeep breaking down was the straw that broke this camels back. I couldn't see how God could use that for good. Now I think back to when Ryan prayed, and he told God that we trust that He's in control and has a plan and that He would use this for good. We gave God back the pen and because we did, God wrote a story that brought us healing, renewal, and laughter like you wouldn't believe.

How God delights in intertwining his characters stories. How He desires to bring His miraculous into our mundane. He will my friends, He will if only we will allow Him to have the pen back.

I know this pic is blurry, but I love how it looks like Landon's doing a thumbs up :)