Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Credible Sources

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, ethical journalism holds responsibility for communicating truth. But I think the reason for all the media scrutiny and lack of ethics involves differentiating views of truth. Some of the distinct caveats of the SPJ's code of ethics include, but are not limited to: 
"Taking responsibility for the accuracy of one's work. Verifying information before releasing it. Using original sources whenever possible. Considering sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserving anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and having information that cannot be obtained elsewhere." http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Everyone has a motive right? Can we trust anyone or anything anymore? Many people don't know that my original college major was broadcast news journalism. When I read another keynote from the SPJ during my undergrad, I knew that I had found my calling:   "Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear." 

For me, giving a voice to the voiceless wasn't just an admirable quality, but the definition of a reporter. I imagined traveling the world bringing breaking news to my peers while simultaneously making a lasting difference in how rules and regulations were maintained. Once I achieved acceptance into UGA's journalism school, I quickly realized my naivete. My dream job was just that--a dream. The lifestyle and commitment would negate every other goal I held. Thus, a standard journalism degree was more fitting for my diverse dreams. However, I still hold a torch for credibility, accountability, and responsibility as it pertains to media. I've seen two multifarious films recently and LOVED them both because they were true accounts of journalists seeking to enlightened the world on important topics. First, Case for Christ, whose title signifies the story (and if you are still searching for truth, I'd highly recommend you try reading or watching this former atheist's account). Second, The Promise, gave me a whole new appreciation for the recent turmoil in Syria. In the movie, actor, Christian Bale, risks his life to expose the Armenian genocide that occurred during the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the start of WWII (an under-told story that puts my current American lifestyle akin to royalty). 

There are so many fabricated stories and personal agendas today in the mass media that it gives me great peace to know my favorite piece of literature, the "Great Book," as some call it, is neither fiction nor discredited. Without it, I believe I'd camp myself in high pride and eternal skepticism, which is a place of perpetual unrest. 

In terms of credible sources, "friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world (1 John 4:1)." And false teachers or doctors for that matter. We should never be afraid to ask questions, and always be willing to ask ourselves the hardest ones! Only then can move forward in peace. 

Photo credibility: your's truly

Playing together is such fun now... 




My little slugger!

He's mastered the plank and moved on to crawling!

The usual bus-load of kids

Roman is already sneaking a taste of ice cream when no ones looking!

Third kid = ice cream at 8 months old. 

Could take or leave it. Like most things for this chill baby.

We are ready for Halloween over here! Thanks cousins for making us ninja warriors!
 ~Credible Buster
 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rainy days

There have been a ton of isolated thunderstorms around our city this summer, which I have always loved. I think it reminds me of childhood since I grew up in Florida, and summer storms were a daily occurrence. It is amazing how a darkened sky or rumble in the clouds can set a new tone in the air. Because they come and go so quickly, they are much more enjoyable than the storms life inevitably brings our way.
I have had the distinct pleasure of re-living some of my life's storms. This time two years ago, I finally brought little Levi home from the hospital with all of his adaptions, and I was preparing to mourn the loss of my best friend while simultaneously mourning the loss of one of my babies I never met. Please don't read sarcasm in my voice here. It's been a real pleasure to recall these memories because I've not only been able to use these experiences to help others recently, but I've also understood why I have so much joy in this mundane season.
I ventured back to Northside hospital last week and stopped by my old home on the high risk unit with the intent of encouraging a fellow mommy on bed rest at 22 weeks. As per usual though, I was the one encouraged by visiting this family who is forced into living each moment with gratitude and trust, wanting their baby to stay put and grow as much as possible before entering the world. There was a strange spiritual circle formed while I shared my story in her hospital room. Instead of the Lion King's circle of life version, it was this beautiful circle of hope lived out of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

Moreover, I met another sweet, strong woman who is currently writing a biography of sorts for Kyra's daughters. I was filled with sad joy as I shared all my memories of Kyra, but I was also especially grateful for the task of holding on to every precious moment so that each one is never lost. That's when I found my own literal lost box of keepsakes. Going through my own history made me realize that some things we hold onto for real nostalgic purposes, others for our loved ones to remember us, and still others we just hold for a rainy day...
like mommy's old middle school dance medals...

Mommy's medals or two British Open champions?
 In light of joy-filled rainy days, here is some of our favorite in door activities. Can you guess what they are?

Paper towel rolls or Car race tubes?

Pillowcases or sleeping bag hideaways?

Public transit or train thrill ride?

Borax on pipe cleaners or magic rock crystals?

Underwear hats or scary pirates?
Pulled weeds ora bouquet for mommy?
We had an unexpected trip to the GI doc this week due to Levi's complaint about his g-tube bothering him. It turns out that he's just getting a little bit taller and thinner causing it to stick out a bit more than usual. The doctor was really not happy about the lack of weight gained. Levi is fine, but I was given a lovely reminder that his feeding tube is a safety net that we are far from losing. Insert your sad face here, but then recall what was happening two years ago, and insert your dancing face here...

At least I'm tall enough to push my own cart now!

And I'm getting my three top teeth already for my 8 month bday!

Finding this gift from Kyra with all my other reminders this week, couldn't have been more perfect. She never got to meet our Ro, but I'm glad she bought him a shirt with his Italian name on it!


Please continue to pray for Levi's weight gain this summer, but more than that, pray that we remember his weight isn't all that important. The important things are moments like this:

~Rainy Buster

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

American Strong

Do you remember learning to walk? Probably not. What about learning to chew or talk? Doubtful. Yet riding a bike seems to carry it's own significant simile: "It's like riding a bike," we say, because we all remember that muscular memory of incorporated balance.  As I have said, little Levi's biggest issue is muscle strength, but more than that, it's now understood as "motor-planing" with regard to his speech. Because Levi waited so late in life to eat by mouth, his oral muscles are probably his weakest ones. In fact, I just read one of my old posts from two years ago where I wrote that Levi struggled to handle his own saliva! Wow. What a great reminder of how far we've come! Now I'm praying for speech instead of saliva. Thankfully we not only love our speech and feeding therapist, but she believes with practice (like walking or chewing) once Levi is stronger, his speech will develop normally. When his (seemingly bright) brain tells his mouth muscles to make a certain sound, sometimes he needs a visual or tactile cue in order to remember how to make a certain syllables. However, some words he can simply say without any help, better yet, some flash cards he can actually read letters on his own accord! Levi is making wonderful steps in speech, and even bigger ones with his feet!
At our orthopedic appointment yesterday, we got approved to discontinue his leg braces at night! Now this is a two month trial to see if he feet turn back or his walk wavers outward. Our doctor said she likes for kids to wear their braces until they are four years-old, but Levi is "A-tyical" with regard to his clubbed feet. It wasn't a bone issue, but rather a "packaging issue." Even though his feet look great, she said there's a chance he'll either need to wear them again, or have a new kind of brace on his right leg only. That was the side he couldn't move in utero, so it's always been a little tighter. Either way, we are so thankful Levi is able to sleep with a "big boy blanket" for the next two months!


Please pray that he continues to gain weight and walk correctly for the next two months. Then we'll have big appointments in September with all our docs to see how we move forward this fall!

We had a great fourth of July doing "normal" American Independence things, which is a huge praise on our Homefront from years passed! God bless America, and God bless you all! Here's some good-ole American fun for you to enjoy...
















~4th Busters

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Analogy

When I was preparing to take the SAT for the second time my junior year of high school, I was a bit anxious about the section on analogies. Now I'm not sure if the current standardized college preparatory exam still incorporates this section or not, but I always dreaded these uncommon comparisons. I figured if I was going to claim a greater appreciation for English and potentially hold a degree in the practice, I needed to uphold a certain level of analogical intelligence. I couldn't help but criticize the questions back in the day because I felt they were irrelevant and subjective. Like most things though, my gratitude grew with my age.
There are certainly many issues with our constant desire to compare, but analogies bridge a gap between generational concepts, cultural norms, and language variations. Comparing two seemingly unrelated topics while highlighting their similarities helps depict a more vivid point. I personally create analogies on a semi-regular basis in order to effectively communicate with my husband. Finding common ground is helpful in all effective communication!
I recently heard an a great sermon by Tim Keller, found here, and loved his borrowed analogy explaining why Christians hold a certain amount of responsibility for the level of joy in their lives. He quoted someone else's analogy saying, "It's like giving a child a toy at a party and then telling him he can't play with it until later when the party is over. The child proceeds to throw a fit on the ground, and you say 'honey listen, I can understand, but you can't let this little thing overshadow this wonderful thing you have.'" In other words, if I let the problems in my life cast a shadow on the amazing gift I have in eternal life, I completely lose sight of the point. True Christians should look different from the rest of the world because of ever-present joy. Do we have a bad days? Yes because we are humans living in a flawed and broken world. But are we faking our continuous joy? Are we just putting on a facade to look happier than we are or trying not to show face? No. When you taste and see, it really does change your perspective. You have joy in the midst of sorrow because you get a glimpse at the big picture. That little party will end pretty quickly, and your treasured toy will be waiting for you to enjoy forever.

My boys are enjoying time together this summer and growing like the weeds in our yard. Well, Levi grows more at the pace of our magnolia tree, but I'll take him just as he is right now (because I know it won't last forever).

Early Saturday wake up calls don't change in the summer.

Summo wrestling days won't always be this soft with big boys running around.




I love when Roman gets up before everyone else to have a little one-on-one mommy time.

Gotta teach um about coffee early!


We usually get one "big" harvest picking from the garden and  then just let the tomatoes and herbs hang out the rest of the season. 

Just a few different colored carrots, some sweet pea pods, an eager green tomato and lots of yummy red potatoes this year.

Enjoyed checking out the new Suntrust Stadium with the boys!

Silas LOVED watching the game. Levi wasn't sold yet. 


But I did sell him on the importance of helping out our neighbors.  Sweet boy bringing our elderly friend her paper. 

Best part of summer!

Best gift in the world is watching this boy enjoy delicious treats. 

Even with his cold and current ear infection, Levi seems to be handling his food well! Thank you for continued prayers for his growth this summer! 

~Analogical Buster