I don't really know where to begin.... It's a bit ridiculous that it's been 6 months since I last let you in on a family update.
There are many reasons, but when it comes down to it, it's simply been easier to not talk about it. To sum it up, 2013 has been the most difficult year for us. And while it feels "appropriate" to talk about our struggles during acute times (ie. a surgery or illness), when those struggles continue on and on, in the absence of any notable circumstance....well, it just feels like it's getting a little old. So, to keep on blogging about hard life didn't hold any appeal to me. And I'm a person who would often rather grin and bear it and put on a happy face, than to broadcast downer after downer.
The reality of this year became very clear to me just a couple of weeks ago. I was looking through all of my photos from 2013, in hopes of putting together a Christmas card. As I looked at these photos, month by month, I couldn't help but bawl. Especially when it came to pictures of Nate, and seeing his eyes in each of those pictures. Our Braveheart has endured so much.
Since that update way back in summer, the road to recovery (again), was very long and very hard. It took many weeks to get him back to eating properly, and even longer to get his blood levels and warfarin meds balanced. His very strong will, which has giving him lots of good fighting power, has also given his mom a lot of heartache, as he struggles to assert and create a sense of control in situations. And while we were still working on all of this recovery, it was time for him to start kindergarten.
By the grace of God, the skills of his most amazing KG teacher, and unending prayers, after a few weeks, he had transitioned into the wonderful world of kindergarten at JR Walkof School. Those first weeks brought such despair to my heart, seeing him struggle, emotionally and mentally, fighting (literally) against what was supposed to be a positive and exciting time.
And then the unexpected issues of dealing with Brady's silly and distracting behavior at school came as a bit of a shock. Brady has always been the 'easy' one. Things have always come easily to him. He has coped and compensated with the crazy life that we have. He's being flying under the radar, not giving us anything to worry about. I always was so thankful that God was so gracious to give us a child that just seemed so 'easy'. Loving to go to school everyday. The most kind and comforting little/big guy when he sees anyone struggling. Protective like crazy over his brother - watching out for him in all the situations. While still fulfilling his brother role as a good pest!! So suddenly having to deal with school situations kinda heaped onto an already full load.
So, I haven't really felt like blogging. Even though I did feel the nudge that it was something I was called to do. One Sunday, our pastor was talking about being "Sent". What I extracted from the sermon and applied to my life was this (to summarize very humbly in my own words; what his words said very eloquently, clearly and passionately): What good is my life....my story, my journey, my God moments, my struggles, if I keep them hidden away in 'draft form', saved and sitting in my outbox. How does God get the glory through what He's doing, showing us and blessing us, if we just keep it all hidden away. I've been SENT. I can't keep my 'letter' saved but not sent. I am God's letter of love, his message, to be shared with anyone and everyone, to show how my story connects with HIS story. And because you're a child of the King, you are his story, you have a mission. He chose you!! He chose you to be in this place at this time. You are a missionary. You are sent.
I Corinthians 3:2-3(It is an awesome message - you can listen or watch it here, it's called I Am Sent)
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Not only did it hit me in a powerful and literal way....but figuratively too. God has chosen me for this story, and the one way I am able to share my story - our family's story - is through this blog. It's one way that God's story can be sent out!
So now, as this year draws to an end, it's time to reflect on how God has been beside us every step of the way, showing His love to us in so many ways. And to be thankful for new grace. And a new year.
- While Nate's GT Racing snow accident was definitely not a praise item, so thankful this happened before his surgery and being put on blood thinners.
- Our Home. The most awesome blessing that I'm reminded of daily. Having the school in our backyard (literally) is amazing. And the heating vent that is situated at the base of the sink cabinet which warms my toes so nicely while washing dishes!
- My family and friends - for their absolute love and commitment. For praying for us. For letting me be real.
- Nate's brand new 'heart part'. So thankful his valve is working so well, and helping his heart not have to work quite as hard.
- Employers who understand our need to take time off work so often.
- The Wish Foundation, who told Nate he would be getting a wish granted.
- Love gifts received from those who care so much for our family.
- Heart moms and dads and families who walk the same road as us and support us through it.
- The best week of the year - camping in July - where healing really began.
- The Love of Learning - by my Brady, who was called 'a talking encylopedia' by his teacher last year. He knows more than me on a lot of topics.
- Teachers: who love and care for our kids, who teach and train them when they are at school
- Sheepskin... to snuggle under on a cold day- what can I say, it just keeps me warm. (You'll understand if you are living through Manitoba's deep freeze of -35C right now. To my warmer America friends, that's -31F!! oh ya!!)
BRING ON 2014!!!
And since pictures make everything better, here's a little year in review and some of the fun and happy moments!
|January - to Edmonton for his cardiac MRI|
|One of their favorite things!|
|Starting some renos|
|You can't find a better seat??? Seriously?|
|Lost 4 teeth....Canadian hockey player?? Swollen, but amazingly no other injuries.|
|Bi-ventricular pacing wires, PA band removal, tricuspid valve replacement and VSD closure. April 2013|
|Make-a-Wish event at the hospital...ironic!|
|Saying Hi to Spiderman.|
|The day after returning home from the hospital was his birthday!|
|Nate is always ready for a jeep ride.|
|Too soon post-op to play, but came to cheer!|
|The best week of our year!|
|Our little fish!|
|Closest thing to a family picture!|
|The best part of Brady's summer was THE FARM!|
|First day of Grade 3|
|First try at Kindergarten ;)|
|Incredible 5 days at a work conference in Banff.|
|Rivals!!! Had an awesome night!!!|
|Everything was Minecraft for his 8th b-day....and we |
don't even have the game!!