Wednesday, February 22, 2017

There's no such thing as a scar

Choices and circumstances can quickly shape our entire outlook on life, so much so that parents worry that every major experience can potentially "scar" their offspring. However, I've reconciled that there is no such thing as an emotional scar. No matter how deep the tissue, I've seen how God can create an alternate experience that counteracts the first removing the "scar" completely. Thus, there's less pressure to control our environment and more laughter at our future.

Before Levi...
I told my husband that I'd do all the dirty diapers if he'd please handle the throw ups because I had a scarring stomach bug experience as a child. Little did I know that Levi's daily regurgitation would help heal that wound.
Before Levi...
I thought I'd never give my kids sugary cereals or other terribly processed foods. Little did I know that Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks would be one of Levi's first independent solids.
Before Levi...
I said I'd never let my kids watch screens for pacification purposes. Little did I know that a screen would be a great way to keep Levi from throwing up and keep Silas from interfering with therapy sessions.
Before Levi...
I assumed that if a child threw up multiple times a day, every single day, they he would certainly develop an emotional scar associated with eating. Little did I know that Levi would be an anomaly who would instantly want to eat whatever food he just gagged out of his mouth.
Before Levi...
I worried that I would somehow scar my children because all parents make mistakes. Little did I know that God can really change all scars into fresh flesh and future stories for their children.

There's nothing we can do and nothing that can happen to us that God can't change. We may bare physical scars for our entire lives on Earth, but that's just on the surface. It's how we heal internally that adds to our stories.

Some amazing steps this week: No Levi is not potty trained, but we have not used his G tube in a week! This is huge! It takes longer to get him to sit still to drink his Pediasure by mouth (hence the toilet locale), but it is definitely worth the work. We still have to learn to suck from a straw (please pray for this because it would help with self feeding), as well as swallow things that aren't completely soft, but he seems to be swallowing new foods every day! It's amazing to watch!

I hope these two always like to share with each other! 
Sweet Saturday reading. 

Even sweeter Sunday dedication for our two little ones. Roman didn't quite stay awake for the final pic.

Praising God for our church and for little Levi finally able to attend one.

I took this picture because it was an amazing moment. I sat there watching Levi, about to turn two, remembering distinctly where we were two years ago. I saw myself back in that NICU rocking chair wondering how his little deformed, fragile body would ever make it to the age of two. What could he possibly look like at two? Here he is... using two hands with two straight feet, trying to use his tools on his train just like a big boy. It was exceptional. There are no words. God is good. God is gracious. I am eternally grateful. Levi may have several scars all over his little body, but I am at peace knowing God will heal any present or future emotional scars.

Please continue to pray for his hand, his eating, and his verbal communication. God bless you!

~Scarless Buster

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Needed and Needy

Well, our honeymoon period with Ro Ro is officially over. He's a great baby for sure, but I recall with Silas that the 3-5 month range is a bit challenging as they become much more alert and aware while still needing significant sleep. As he tries to deal with losing a pacifier, regulating his system, and changing with leaps and bounds, Roman also remains subject to his brother's schedules. With Levi's awesome doc/therapy schedule, Ro, just has to figure things out a lot quicker as he can't enjoy long naps in his bed. Unfortunately, he's decided he doesn't like sleeping in his car seat anymore, which makes for tiresome travels. As my weary soul searches, I've struggled with whether or not my Lord, whom I thank for coming to Earth to take on the sinful trials of man, can actually empathize with motherhood.
I know that the Word tells me He experienced every emotion we experience, and He's the only God to have also become man, but he wasn't an actual mommy. How on Earth could He understand the ins and outs of dealing with children, toddlers, and teens? The monotony and grind that refines your patience: daily diapers, cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Did He really feel the frustration of an unconsolable infant? YES.
When Jesus humbled himself as King to walk on Earth (and water), many people sought his attention every minute of the day. Not only do we need Him more than air, but people were needy for him like little children. "Heal me! Hug me! Feed me! Forgive me!" Jesus barely had a moment to himself. In fact, he rose early forsaking sleep to get alone with His Father above. Just like my children seem needy for me, everyone was needy for Jesus' care and concern as we still are today. The difference between his parenting in mine is that He was sinless. I am 100 percent flesh, and He was 100 percent flesh and 100 percent divine. I can only hope to let His Holy Spirit live through me so that I don't lose heart and allow divinity to win the day. By His grace I can keep on keeping on even in the hard weeks.

Pray for us: I was just diagnosed with Shingles (Apparently a result of undiagnosed stress I didn't know I had!) Please pray that Roman doesn't get chicken pox at his ripe ole age of 3 months!

Little Levi- He's making great strides with his eating. As long as his tummy isn't too full, he's getting better at navigating solids. He wants to do, go, and eat whatever big brother Silas has chosen. It's encouraging, but at times nerve wracking because his little body can't quite handle what his mind understands. He will be two in a few weeks! Now, he will actually tell me whether he wants to ingest his Pediasure "by mouth or by G tube!"  So thankful for his understanding!

Moments to get you through the rough ones...

I asked Levi to read a book to Roman!

Sweet big brother!

New fav activity- flashlight discoveries!

Levi was SO excited to go into Silas' class for the Valentines party. 

He was teaching the other kids how to lick knives... sorry mamas!

Little man wants to go to school so bad. 

But more than school, he just LOVES to play in anything that gets him dirty. 

If you say something is gross, yucky, dirty, or the like, it's Levi's first choice!

Can't wait for spring!

Thank you Jesus for relating to me in every way. Thank you for forgiving me when I feel as though I am failing on all fronts. Thank you for new mercies each morning, and hope for a sweet perspective that the grass is always greener! Thank you that I can be needed and needy!

~Needy Buster

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why Love

"You sure are brave." "Wow, you look busy." "I'm tired just looking at you." --A few of the comments we received this past week at Hartsfield Jackson, San Diego, and Los Angeles airports.

Prior to rising from bed at 5:30 am to leave our home and 4:30 am to leave our hotel to return to our home 6 days later, we battled a warfare of sorts, including but not limited to, my survival of the stomach bug, Silas' deep inner ear infection, Levi's head cold, and Roman's simple baby adjustments. Why on Earth would anyone want to travel with three small children on a four-hour plane flight knowing the time change and fast pace would exhaust everyone just after such a week of illness? Well, not only were two of my three kids free, and my husband had a work conference to attend, but the real reason boiled down to simple act of love. My grandma, Jaj, as we call her, lives in San Diego, along with my wonderful dad (plus my sweet brother came down from San Fran to visit us), and the last time I saw her was exactly two years ago just before we unexpectedly welcomed Levi into the world. Jaj had just entered a "Memory Care Facility" because of a dementia turned Alzheimer diagnosis that no one could have predicted. The disease had been thus far absent from our family lineage, and Jaja's physical health was immaculate for a woman in her 70s. Because life gets crazy, and Levi hadn't been strong enough to travel, I've rarely spoken to her these last two years. So when the opportunity to visit her came, we decided to jump at the chance to take the whole family to sunny San Diego. Just before we left, Silas started antibiotics and Levi started throwing up mucus, but I wasn't going to let a little illness hold us back. It is not out of pride or bravery that I can lug a lot of luggage, but truly a drive of love.
Jaj may have had glimpses of recognition or moments of clarity during our short visits last week, but she will no doubt never remember that we came so far to see her, nor will she hold onto the memory of her three great-grandsons. That doesn't matter.
Jesus died for people that would never acknowledge Him. He suffered for those who spit on Him. He loved us before we ever loved Him.  One of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible is 1 John 4. John writes simply, "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is made complete in us." (8-12)
Patiently caring for screaming babies, pouring into thankless teens, or providing for aging adults are all images of the cross. Even if you are not a parent, it is the under-appreciated, unremembered and unrecognized acts of love that bear witness to what Jesus poured out. To love those who will never fully understand your love is the closest we can get to understanding God's love for us. We must continue to let go of the comfortable in order to find purpose in this life. Being able to sit and love my Jaj for a few moments made the uncomfortable travel worth it, and seeing my family enjoy Francis Chan at the SEND conference was icing on the cake.

Four generations represented! My wonderful momma came along to help me wrangle these boys each day and fly home without my hubby.
Love them taking each other in...

We had to have a little fun while in Cali

Thanks to Papa for all the great pics!

Dee Dee and Uncle Matt were great teachers too.

Something about the Pacific Ocean feels like home. Maybe cause Jaj always took me there.

A playground at the beach- nothing could be better for these boys than to be surrounded by sand.

Roman was there I promise, he just liked to sleep on mommy most of the time.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen. Even though Matthew and I may be the only ones in this picture that will remember the moment, it was a moment worth making out of love. We love you Jaj!

~Love Buster